top of page



In the living school that were the sculpture and painting studios, the school I attended every day, issues were  constantly raised. Difficulties that led to passionate studies which often called for help from outside the field of psychiatry – from art, myths, religions, literature, in which the deepest of human emotions have always found expression.

Nise da Silveira

Because she didn’t accept the psychiatric therapy methods that were prevalent in her time – such as shock therapy, lobotomy, and insulin coma therapy –, in 1946 psychiatrist Nise da Silveira created the Occupational Therapy Section at the Centro Psiquiátrico Nacional (National Psychiatric Centre) in Rio de Janeiro. Among the 17 different activities, the production of the painting and sculpting sectors stood out as a means of accessing the inner world of those who attended these activities. The production at these studios was so abundant that it resulted in the creation of the Museu de Imagens do Inconsciente (Museum of Images from the Unconscious) in 1952. 


The Museum is an active centre of study and research about these images and has a markedly interdisciplinary nature, which allows for a constant exchange between clinical experience, psychiatric and psychological theoretical knowledge, cultural anthropology, history, art and education. 

During its existence the Museum has organized art exhibitions in Brazil and abroad, concerts, film screenings and publications, with the aim of disseminating scientific knowledge about the processes that unfold deep inside our being. At the same time, this work done in a favourable environment enabled the emergence of artists who soon received recognition in the art world.  

The Museum is directly connected to the expressive studios. Their regular visitors created new visual documents on a daily basis and shared their experiences with employees, co-therapist animals, students, researchers, and visitors. As such, the collection grew steadily and nowadays it includes more than 400.000 works – the main collections have been listed as protected heritage by the Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (the National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute - IPHAN). 

The Museum holds the largest and most diversified collection of its kind in the whole world. It documents an important period in the history of science and culture and constitutes a true cultural legacy of humanity. 

The great interest aroused by this heritage, as well as the wide spectrum of research made possible by its content, means the Museu de Imagens do Inconsciente is an institution with an unmatched potential for growth, a fertile ground for the development of activities related to inclusion and social development, in accordance with the new concepts of cultural health and sustainability. 



bottom of page