In contrast to the Art Deco simplicity of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the interior of the stately Centro Asturiano, on the east border of the Parque Central, is a marvel to look at in itself. Housing the international collections of the Museo de Bellas Artes, this grandiose building is plastered with balcony-supported columns and punctuated with carved stone detail. The entrance hall with its wide marble staircase is a real knockout, punctuated by thick pillars and, looming above, spacious balustraded balconies from which you can admire the stunning stained-glass ceiling.
The exhibits are divided up by country of origin, with the largest collections by Italian, French and Spanish artists, on the fifth, fourth and third floors respectively. There are one or two standouts among the more mundane British, German, Dutch and Flemish collections, all on the fifth floor, such as Kermesse by Jan Brueghel (the younger), one of the only internationally famous artists in this section. The painting depicts a peasant scene with all sorts of debauchery going on, a focus typical of his work.
Elsewhere you can see ancient art from Rome, Egypt, Greece and Etruria, including vases, busts, and most notably the coffin from a 3000-year-old tomb; a small room of nineteenth-century Japanese paintings and, sketchiest of all, a haphazard set of Latin American and North American paintings.