Interior of the Lázaro Galdiano Foundation Museum
A little further along from what is known as the 'Paseo del Arte' (the Art Route) in Madrid, there is an unassuming museum, a genuine cultural treasure which amply repays a visit: the Lázaro Galdeano Museum. Visitors who venture there will find a beautiful neo-Renaissance palace, once the home of the patron of the arts Lázaro Galdiano, containing over 12,000 pieces, including paintings, jewellery, suits of armour… This is a chance to enjoy works by masters such as Goya, and one of the best collections in Spain.
The itinerary known as the Art Route in Madrid is the site of the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía National Art Centre, and represents an authentic marvel for art lovers. However, the capital has many more museums, including the Lázaro Galdiano which stands in the heart of the commercial centre of the city. A visit here is an exceptional experience which is known to few. As soon as you step into its gardens and lay eyes on the majestic building, you'll leave behind all the hustle and bustle of our modern life and be transported back to the early 20th century when it was built. Once inside, you'll find the museum is divided into several floors. The first thing you'll discover is who Lázaro Galdiano was: an editor and financier who collected numerous unique works of art throughout his life and which, together with his house, were donated to the nation on his death. From this point on you can enjoy a tour of this house, which was once a venue for artistic and literary discussions. On the first floor you'll find an exquisite collection of Spanish art, ranging from the Gothic through to the 19th century with rooms arranged around a gorgeous ballroom. The most outstanding works here are unquestionably the paintings by Goya, with such well-known pieces as 'The Witches' Coven' and 'The Witches'. Take your time to study them carefully because they're bound to make an impression. As you walk through the museum you'll discover Lázaro Galdiano's taste for international art, as the collection features works from some of the major European schools and includes works of sculpture, painting and the sumptuary arts. Pieces by Hieronymus Bosch and Lucas Cranach are among the very best. And don't miss the miniatures cabinet which lights up when visitors enter, or the family's own personal objects, including writing desks, ceramics, glass items and jewellery. And then on to a singular space, the third floor: a storeroom open to visitors containing a valuable collection of coins, medals, weapons, silver items, enamels, ivories… A word of advice: take a look at the frescoes on the ceilings, as they were commissioned by José Lázaro himself and feature allusions to mythology, literature and art. And of course at the end of your visit you can always take home a souvenir from the gift shop.
A museum for all ages
The museum also offers various activities to enjoy with your family, including film and music workshops. You'll also be able to go on guided tours to learn about the most important works in the collection and the personality of the collector. All these activities are in Spanish; for all other languages please check in advance. The museum is part of a foundation which also has a library and an auditorium used as a venue for concerts (recitals, flamenco shows…). You'll find the museum easy to reach, as it has excellent transport connections (beside the Rubén Darío and Gregorio Marañón underground stations). A visit to the museum does not take long, and when you come out you can enjoy a stroll around the Salamanca district with its profusion of luxury shops. So on your next trip to Madrid, remember to leave a little time to visit this tranquil museum with its collection of works from the 5th century B.C. through to the 20th century, and which stands in homage to a man who dedicated his life to collecting beautiful things.
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