The capital of Spain has some of the world’s most distinguished museums. But Madrid also shares its cultural resources with smaller, charming museums that are well worth a visit. Such is the case of the National Museum of Romanticism, the Lázaro Galdiano Museum and the Museum of Costume. These unique spaces take us to the splendorous past of one of Europe’s most culturally relevant cities.
Calle San Mateo, 13
The National Museum of Romanticism is housed in an 18th-century building and recreates the artistic, literary and folkloric traditions of the romantic period. Romanticism in Spain dominated all areas of thought and artistic creation during the first half of the 19th century, in an exaltation of the human condition, beauty, and nature. The museum houses an important collection of 19th-century paintings. On display in its galleries, there are works by artists such as Francisco de Goya, Federico de Madrazo and Antonio Esquivel. Also on view, beautiful landscapes by Jenaro López de Villamil, Leonardo Alenza´s genre portraits and works by Valeriano Becquer. Additionally, there is a fantastic collection of furniture and valuable objects of the romantic era, from pianos to porcelain. Currently, the catalog of the National Museum of Romanticism includes 16,126 pieces and 4,368 documentary collections.
Calle Serrano, 122
José Lázaro Galdiano was a wealthy entrepreneur, intellectual, publisher, and collector, who lived during the 19th and 20th centuries. He is best remembered for donating an impressive art collection that currently can be enjoyed in the museum that bears his name. The Museum Lázaro Galdiano specializes in medieval art, works from the Italian Renaissance, Flemish primitive paintings, and works by artists of the Spanish Golden Age, such as El Greco, Murillo, and Zurbarán. Furthermore, it includes British paintings, works by Guardi and Tiepolo, as well as portraits and paintings from Goya´s black period. The museum also has a large collection of antique furniture, hats, fans and ancient weapons.
Avenida de Juan de Herrera, 2
A cultural institution with a long history, the current Museum of Costume, which opened in 2004, is devoted to cataloging the historical evolution of clothing and the ethnological heritage of the peoples of Spain. The building–awarded the National Prize of Architecture–opened, in 1975, to house the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art. This magnificent structure was conceived with a very flexible layout that featured multiuse spaces and galleries. The Museum of Costume’s collection covers the different historical periods from the point of view of clothing, featuring old and contemporary garments as well as religious vestments. It also exhibits textiles, jewelry, and accessories of all times. The institution organizes attractive tours, exhibitions, workshops, conferences, concerts and activities for children. ■
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