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Like the MASP, the Pinacoteca reflects the theory that an art space must be worthy of the art it exhibits. Designed in 1897 by Ramos de Azevedo, it housed the first art school of the city, Liceu de Artes e Ofícios. In 1997, architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha renovated the eclectic neoclassical building by stripping it of the stucco that covered it and leaving a stunning columned palace in exposed brick. Many of the most important Brazilian modernists are on display inside, Cândido Portinari, Anita Malfatti and Di Cavalcanti included.
The Pinacoteca admission fee also includes entry to the Estação Pinacoteca, just a couple of minutes walk away, which is now both a temporary exhibition space as well as a museum that documents the building's history as a political prison during Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-85).