Spanish Art Collection, Lázaro Galdiano Museum

Spanish Art on the First Floor, where a selection of works of art from our country (both paintings, sculptures and sumptuous arts) are displayed in a total of eight rooms that the visitor will see in chronological order. The tour has been organized chronologically, to observe the artistic evolution.

To appreciate all the value of the works gathered here, we must take into account the pride that Lazaro Galdiano produced Spanish art while this is another example of the country’s cultural wealth. As we have already mentioned throughout this report, the collection of Hispanic works was for him a way of seeking his own identity, as well as a tool to educate citizens.

Rooms that have been located in what were once the so called apparatus rooms of the palace. On the way to the stairs is damage, the noble floor of the palace, whose decoration has remained as it was at the time. In the first place, pieces from the 15th and 16th centuries are contemplated, distributed in the honor room, a good collection of Gothic and Renaissance style tables, highlighting the ‘Triptych of the Nativity’, by the Master of Avila.

Not to be lost in room 11, enabled in the gala dining room, one of the most valuable works of the museum, as is the oil ‘Head of a Girl’, by Velázquez. For its part, in the ballroom, which is double height, temporary exhibitions are organized in some cases, living with the collection of Spanish portraits of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, among which the one by Gerturdis Gómez de Avellaneda, writer which was immortalized by Federico de Madrazo in 1857. Another point to go through is the cabinet dedicated to Goya, through which José Lázaro Galdiano felt a special weakness and admiration.

Room 7:
Spanish art of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
Originally the Hall of Honor of the palace, which will continue in Room 8. For sculptural decoration, Lázaro Galdiano trusted Manuel Castaños, under the supervision of Francisco Borrás; As for the magnificent ceiling, this is a work of Eugenio Lucas Villamil, who represented an allegory of “The Four Seasons”.

Here several Gothic and Renaissance tables from the second half of the 15th century have been gathered in which we will distinguish various techniques and influences. Works very admired by Don José, which earned him the criticism of his contemporaries, who considered them as a “barbaric” art. However, this contempt for these pieces meant that Lazarus could acquire them at a very good price, thus betting on a style that would later be recognized.

On the one hand, we have several examples of the Aragonese school. The Kingdom of Aragon, thanks to the trade and political and cultural contact that had at that time with Italy and with the Papal Court of Avignon, will be the place where the so-called International Gothic was concentrated more deeply, whose main characteristics are: to represent faces idealized of saints; rank the figures, giving more importance to some than others; the creation of flat scenes, without depth, with golden backgrounds; the oil is used in a linear manner, as if they were drawings; and the golden color is used to highlight the contours of the nimbus and the mantles, as well as stew while the tails Silver are used to represent fabrics.

In this way, from the Aragonese school we can see tables such as the “Virgin of Mosén Esperandeu de Santa Fe”, the work of Blasco de Grañén from 1439; a “San Miguel Arcángel with two donors”, from the circle of Juan Rius and Domingo Ram; and a table of “San Sebastián”, as well as another of “San Miguel”, both by Juan de la Abadía “el Viejo”.

However, in the Kingdom of Castile, Flemish techniques settled, as much as Isabel “la Católica” liked, thus representing a more realistic trend. The faces of the saints are humanized, leaving besides applying the golden color in the bottoms And thus beginning to use the perspective to represent the space. From this Castilian school, we have a painting of “San Jerónimo en el scriptorium” in the room, the work of the Master of the Parral; Also worthy of attention is a beautiful “Triptych of the Birth”, by the Master of Avila, identified with García del Barco, who was, like other painters, against the Gothic International, thus creating the Spanish-Flemish style; and a table of the”Visitation of the Virgin to her cousin Santa Isabel”, anonymous authorship.

As for the sculptures in the room, these are also from the end of the 15th century, with most of them coming from old altarpieces, such as a “enthroned San Pedro” carving whose author is unknown.

Room 8:
Spanish Art of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
A continuation of the previous one, although the works in it we serve transition before moving on to the seventeenth century. As we saw before, during the XV two styles coexisted, the International Gothic and the flamenco, prolonging the latter until well into the XVI. Meanwhile, the Renaissance flourishes in Italy, which calls for the revival of classical antiquity. Castile, as we have already pointed out, opted for the Flemish masters, and Aragon and Valencia were inclined to the Italians. However, at the beginning of the 16th century, Flemish painting began to decline, extending the artistic model of Italy throughout the peninsula, as well as throughout the rest of Europe.

In this way, here we will see some tables of this transition period in which artists began to include in their technical works both Flemish and Italian; but while the former were based on the primacy of the natural, the emotions, the latter did so on the scientific, seeing in the image that they represented a whole mathematical problem to solve. This mixture of styles can be seen in Bartolomé de Castro’s paintings, which could be from the clothes of the 1510s, where the figures are in the foreground and the landscape leaves him in the background.

There are also three tables of the Master of Astorga. Two of them, which come from the chapel of the cemetery of Astorga (León), have Italian reminiscences and represent the legend of the Apostle Santiago; instead, the third, the”Birth of Christ with Santo Domingo and San Lorenzo”, mixes the two models: on the one hand, the expressive faces of the characters are flamenco; on the other hand, its order, according to a triangular scheme, is an Italian composition.

The room is completed with a showcase in which a set of religious silverware used in liturgical ceremonies is exposed. Finally, the size of the “Virgin with the Child” that we see on one of the sides of the room is the work of a disciple of Felipe Vigarny’s workshop; on the back, the signature “Sedano”, painter and polychromator of altarpieces that worked with this sculptor appears.

But we will not leave here without first looking at the ceiling, which reminds us that this room was once the Palace Music Room. In it, Eugenio Lucas Villamil represented the musical tastes of the Lazaro-Florido family painting various composers of classical music. Thus, Richard Wagner appears in the foreground accompanied by other artists, such as Verdi, Chopin, Rossini, Beethoven, Mozart, or Liszt.

Room 9:
The feminine image in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
Theme of the works in this next room is totally different from the views so far. This is, which has been installed in what used to be the hall of the palace since, originally, access was made through the entrance to the Street Claudio Coello; This is why its decoration, in the Renaissance style, is so elaborate. If we look up, we will see the tribute that Lucas Villamil made to the painter Francisco de Goya, who is portrayed in the lower right corner; made in oil on canvas in 1906, it is the first commission that Lázaro Galdiano made to the artist.

But we toured the room. In it, we can see numerous court portraits of some of the most important ladies of the aristocracy, such as the Duchess of Medinaceli, or the daughter of Felipe II, the Infanta Catalina Micaela, Duchess of Savoy, both works of anonymous authorship so far. In these paintings, the represented appear wearing their best dresses and jewels, all symbolizing the status to which they belong. It also highlights the “Portrait of a young lady”, attributed to Sofonisba Anguissola, an Italian artist who, between 1559 and 1573, settled in Madrid as painter of Philip II and bridesmaid of Isabel de Valois.

In the center of the room, a showcase shows us a series of busts that serve as reliquaries and that represent different saints, although they appear dressed according to the fashion of the time.

Room 10:
Spanish Art of the Golden Age
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spain experienced its greatest heyday thanks to its political expansion and wealth, which led to a revival of the arts, especially painting and literature. Thus, this period can be seen represented in the works that hang from the walls of this room, magnificent paintings of great painters of the moment.

One of them, without going any further, is the one that shows “San Francisco de Asís”, the work of Domenico Theotocopuli “El Greco” between 1577 and 1579. Above it is the “Noli me tangere”, a A painting painted between 1609 and 1612 by his son, Jorge Manuel Theotocopuli, which was once part of the altarpiece in Titulcia (Madrid). Attributed to José de Ribera, we have the work of “San Bartolomé”, made around 1635, and of Alonso del Arco, also called with the nickname of Sordillo de Pereda, the canvas of the “Annunciation”. José Antolinez signed in 1666 the “Immaculate” that we see, while the beautiful image of “, from around 1670, is from the great Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, a painting that Lázaro Galdiano got in London in 1934.

The rest of the room is completed with various pieces of furniture from the period, such as a 17th-century table made of walnut, oak and chestnut wood with bone inlays, and with some polychrome carvings from the Castilian and Sevillian schools, such as the “Child of Passion”, framed in the latter.

The room is installed in the former Comedy Cabinet, where we can now imagine the gatherings that Don José would then have with his guests. If we look up once more, we will see that Lucas Villamil chose on this occasion a very appropriate theme to the set of works that are exposed here today, because, in the foreground, we have represented the Phoenix of the Wits, Lope de Vega, maximum exponent of the Golden Age of Spanish letters, which is surrounded by other poets, novelists and playwrights from different eras, thus expressing the taste of Lázaro Galdiano.

Room 11:
Spanish Art of the Golden Age
Complementary to the previous room. Spanish works made by foreign artists that greatly influenced the work of the painters of Spanish. In the seventeenth century, Spanish paintings take a turn towards realism, approaching and approaching the social and religious ideas of that time. In the middle of the century, the Venetian and Flemish schools will begin to influence Spanish painters, as can be seen in the works carried out during the second half of the 17th century.

One of the most important that we can observe here is the “Woman’s Head” painting, attributed to Diego Velázquez and that, in principle, seems to have been made to be kept in the workshop as a study. Of the Asturian artist Juan Carreño de Miranda are two exposed portraits. The first of them is the image of a knight of the Order of Santiago. The second represents a lady who, possibly, was Inés de Zúñiga, Condesa de Monterrey, daughter-in-law of the Count-Duque de Olivares and sister of the Isabel de Velasco menina; the identification would be based on the fact that Inés de Zúñiga had a curious jewel in the form of a gun, the same jewel as the one in the woman in the painting. Also from Carreño are the portraits of “Fernando de Valenzuela”, Marqués de Villasierra, and a young man”Carlos II”.

Also, in the room we can see some still lifes 19Small in size and a good painting of religious themes. Of the latter, the “Visitation”, a work by Antonio de Pereda around 1645, and “The mystical betrothal of Santa Catalina”, by Francisco de Solís stand out. The so-called Madrid school are the paintings of “San Agustín” and “Santa Catalina”, both by Francisco Rizi, and the impressive “Immaculate” by Claudio Coello.

Finally, the room has a central display case that hosts a sample of objects made in silver by some of the best Spanish silversmiths of the time.

The elongated shape of this room already gives us a clue of what it was in origin: the former Gala dining room of the palatial house. On the roof, Eugenio Lucas Villamil represented several classical gods, such as Bacchus, Ceres, Diana and Neptune, thus referring to the theme of food: wine, agriculture, hunting and water, respectively.

Room 12:
Spanish portraits of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Located in the center of this floor, under the impressive window covering this room that was once the Palace Ballroom. At the bottom of the corrida gallery, where the musicians were placed, we will see the paintings made by Lucas Villamil, who, on this occasion, chose some sweethearts for decoration playing different instruments and dancing among flowers, while the corners were completed with allegorical representations of the seasons.

Here, as the name implies, a selection of portraits painted between the 18th and 19th centuries is exposed. In them, you can see the evolution of the techniques until reaching French neoclassicism, which can be seen in the portrait of “Manuela González Velázquez playing the piano”, the work of Zacarías González Velázquez. There are also examples of the romanticism that just awakens, such as the painting of the “Lady of Carsi”, in which Bernardo López represents the image of Magdalena de la Herranz, wife of Senator Jaime Carsi Azcárraga and student of the artist’s own drawing. Vicente López Portaña, father of the former, are, among others, the portrait of the “Infanta Luisa Carlota de Borbón” (circa 1819) and two sketches for final works:”Ferdinand VII, with the habit of the Golden Fleece” (approximately 1830-31) and “Ferdinand VII, with the habit of the Order of Charles III” (circa 1808).

But without a doubt, one of the most beautiful works is the well-known portrait of the 19th-century writer “Gertrudis Gómez de Avelleneda”, painted by the great artist Federico de Madrazo in 1857. Next, we can see a picture of his brother Luis de Madrazo, “La marquesita Roncali”, 1855 portrait of Cristina de Roncali y Gaviria at seven years of age.

A good number of pieces of Spanish furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries complete the room.

Room 13:
Goya and his contemporaries
A series of works of which was the favorite artist of Lázaro Galdiano, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. On the one hand, we have “Penitent Magdalene”, close to the frescoes that can be admired inside the Hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida and from which its origin has been identified from the Francisco Casado de Torres collection, son-in-law by Sebastián Martínez, friend of Goya.

There is the portrait of the Augustinian priest and historian “José de La Canal”, who became director of the Royal Academy of History. These paintings have been recognized as works by the Aragonese painter, although there are still two others that do not have a final verdict of the experts: “Scene of disciplining” and “Unequal marriage”, both acquired by Lázaro Galdiano as authentic works of Goya

In the room, we can also contemplate the “Burial of Christ” that once decorated the ceiling of the chapel of the Palace of Sobradiel, in Zaragoza; painted in oil between 1771 and 1772 imitating a work of the French artist Simon Vouet, towards the year 1920 it was torn from its location and passed to a canvas; its restoration was funded by the State of Louisiana and the Alexandria Museum of Fine Arts. The paintings of “San Hermenegildo in the prison” and “Santa Isabel de Portugal curing the sores of a sick woman” that are exposed here are sketches of two works that disappeared during the War of Independence (1808-1814) of the Church of San Fernando de Torrero, in Zaragoza,

We continue through the room and see “El Aquelarre” and “El Conjuro”, also called the latter as “Las Brujas”, two works that are among the best known of the painter and that belonged to the art collection of the Dukes of Osuna like the painting that stands between them, “La era”, or “El verano”, the first sketch for the definitive cardboard found in the Prado Museum.

In addition to these works by Goya, and as the name of this room reads, here we will also find some portraits made by other contemporary Aragonese artists.

The one of “Vicente de Osorio Moscoso Fernández de Córdoba, Count of Altamira and Marqués de Astorga”, attributed until recently to Antón Rápale Mengs and, for a time to this part, to Luis Meléndez. Agustín Esteve and Marqués are the portraits of “Doña María de la O Piscatori, Marquesa de San Andrés”, “María Francisca de Asís Vera de Aragón, Condesa de Sástago”, “María Guillermina de Baquedano y Quiñones, Duquesa de Veragua” and the sketch of “Fernando VII”, whose definitive work is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Seville.

For his part, Juan Gálvez signed the small canvas that shows “Agustina de Aragón”. “La Tienda de Geniani”, by Luis Paret y Alcázar, was painted for Infante Don Luis, his protector; Years later, in 1922, it was bought by Lázaro Galdiano in Paris.

Finally, in the center of the room the so-called “Mesa de Godoy” has been placed, a gift made by the Spanish regions to the one known as Prince of Peace.

This stay was baptized by Don José Lázaro as Gothic Hall and fulfilled the functions of a hall for those visitors who accessed the palace through Serrano Street. Eugenio Lucas Villamil painted on this ceiling “The Assembled Arts”, thus representing the hobbies of the collector.

Room 14:
Spanish art of the nineteenth century
A number of works from this period have been gathered treasured by Lázaro Galdiano, especially from the first half of the century. We can see here how the academic tone persisted during this time based on the techniques dictated by the Academies and Schools of Fine Arts, which were to replace the painting and sculpture workshops where, until then, artists were trained. At the same time, we will see that in Spain, as in the rest of Europe, a romantic movement of freer and more expressive techniques emerged that tried to reflect the reality of the popular world, the one with which it was identified, an inheritance of Goya that They took charge of capturing their followers.

Thus, here we have works such as the traditional scene of “La boba soup”, by the Madrid painter Leonardo Alenza, author of the two friezes that were part of the interior decoration of the Café de Levante, in Madrid, and that made a set with the found in the Museum of Romanticism and the Prado Museum.

Attributed to Juan Antonio Ribera, there is a portrait of the sculptor “Antonio Solá”, who appears here represented next to the Statue of Miguel de Cervantes that he himself will make and that today we can see in the Plaza de las Cortes. A “Self Portrait” by Antonio María Esquivel and a “Girl Portrait”Valeriano Domínguez Bécquer are clear examples of the Andalusian romantic school. Ricardo Balaca painted in 1875 the portrait of “Teresa Vergara”, his wife, and Emilio Sala that of the writer and art critic “Luis Alfonso”, whose gatherings in Barcelona Lazaro attended in his youth.

Jenaro Pérez Villaamil, a great artist of the romantic landscape, exhibits “Torreón en ruins” with another painting of the same theme, painted in this case by Eugenio Lucas; both are a sample of the “tests” of speed and skill that these two painters used to do, choosing for it a theme that the two had to represent at the same time imitating the style of the opposite; in this way, on the back of Pérez Villaamil’s painting one can read “Villaamil à Lucas / 11, October 1853 / in half an hour given / to friend and art”. The couple “Moors running the gunpowder” and “Moors in Tetouan”They are from Francisco Lameyer.

The pleasure of Lázaro Galdiano for the works of Eugenio Lucas Velázquez that we already mentioned at the beginning of this report made him acquire a good number of works by this artist that so well followed the wake left by Goya, as well as his son, Eugenio Lucas Villamil.

It will be the latter, as we have seen in the rest of the dependencies of this plant, who is responsible for the pictorial decoration of the ceiling of this room that, originally, was chosen by Don José to install his office-library. Lucas Villamil painted in this case an “Exaltation of Wisdom and Spanish Letters”, for which he was inspired by “The Era of the Reformation”, a fresco by Wilhelm von Kaulbach that decorated the steps of the Neues Museum in Berlin until, Unfortunately, it was destroyed during World War II (1939-1945).

Two showcases in the center of the room exhibit several pieces of Bohemian glass, or the Royal Factory of La Granja, as well as Alcora ceramics.

Lázaro Galdiano Museum
The Lázaro Galdiano Museum, in Madrid (Spain), is a state museum of private origin, which houses a wide and heterogeneous collection, formed with encyclopedic interest towards all arts and techniques. This exceptional set, consisting of more than 12,600 pieces, was gathered by the collector and editor José Lázaro Galdiano, who when he died in 1947 bequeathed it to the Spanish State together with his Madrid residence, the headquarters of his publishing house Modern Spain and a library of 20,000 volumes

On display at the Lázaro Galdiano Museum is a large part of the private collection of José Lázaro Galdiano bequeathed to the Spanish State. The Lázaro Galdiano Foundation was established by the government in 1948. As well as administering directing the museum itself, the Foundation manages an important library, an archive, a study room containing prints and drawings and also edits the prestigious arts magazine “Goya”.

The art collection includes an excellent picture gallery, which is essential to the history of Spanish art and within which the work of Francisco de Goya stands out. Important European paintings are also included and are complemented by sculptures and decorative arts, dating from the 6th century BC up to the first half of the 20th century.

The conceptual display on the ground floor offers the key to understanding the collection, its origins and its importance in the history of art, and what is more, to take an aesthetic stroll amongst its most attractive pieces. The first floor is dedicated to Spanish art, the second floor to the European schools. On the third floor, a study gallery has been set up, holding the majority of the pieces from the collection, consisting of some thirteen thousand objects.