The Brasilian Museum of Naive Art in Rio de Janeiro is an overlooked little treasure house at the foot of the hill – Corcovado – on which the statue of Cristo Redentor stands with its arms spread wide. A pleasant villa beside the rack rail tram terminal for the journey to go up Corcovado, it sees a tiny fraction of the visitors to the statue. But it is very much worth a look.

Tiled veranda floor, Museu Internacional de Arte Naif do Brasil

To be sure, Corcovado is a visual delight. You can see why Tom Jobim’s jazz standard  spotlights it. The views of Rio from its heights are breathtaking.

Rio de Janeiro at the feet of Cristo Redentor: “Que lindo … “

Rio’s natural setting and its flora and fauna are memorable.

On the steps to the Corcovado summit

Monkeys in residence in an abandoned hotel on the way to Corcovado summit

The paintings in the museum, though not always well lit, are a fascinating international cross-section of naive art.

The British representative work

They range from works which take their cue from the high art tradition

Married (casada) Couple

to more lyrically abstract pieces,

Iracema Arditi, Azulzinho (Little Blue),1972

from the documentary

The Australian contribution

to the quirkily poetic.

Eve Vic, Suriname, Cuidade com a cobra (Beware of the Snake)

But whether they portray animals or people, at work

Market, Kenya, 1996

or at play,

House band at Estudantina – not playing musica Brasileira the night we visited

they do what all good art can do:

View of Rio, detail

they transform the way you see. Truly worth a look, if you’ve already made the journey to or from Corcovado’s more well-known art work.

World’s largest Art Deco sculpture

Life imitates art. Tourists photograph themselves in the same pose at the summit