The Cerralbo Museum is a museum palace which belonged to Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, the 17th Marquis of Cerralbo (1845-1922). He was an avid collector of art and antiques which he obtained from his travels and from art auctions in Europe. His acquisitions include paintings, sculptures, drawings, tapestries, ceramics, historical documents, books, photography, objets d'art and furniture. It was one of the finest collections of its time. The palace of the Marquis was built to be both a residence and a gallery.
|Hall of the Armoury|
The armoury was the receiving area of this aristocratic residence. The Marquis and his Marquess, Inocencia Serrano y Cerver, greeted their guests in this hall where the suit of armor belonging to the illustrious ancestor of the Marquis, Pablo Fernandez Contreras, the first Earl of Alcudía, (who was the Admiral of the Spanish Squad that defeated the Dutch fleet in 1635) is on display. The Marquis of Cerralbo also inherited the title of Earl of Alcudía.
The formal dining room sits twenty four and is decorated with mirrors and paintings, particularly still life canvases. It's a somber room with diffused lighting so the ladies wouldn't look bad under the glare of electric lights.
The museum palace reflects the lifestyle of wealthy Madrileños in the late 19th century. The ballroom is a gilded dance hall adorned with frescoes with dance themes. The family crests are held up by putti just below the concave ceiling while busts watched guests dance and mirrors reflected their every move.
The library has an impressive selection of 12,000 books in a variety of subjects. The books on archaeology and numismatics are some of the the most important in the collection.
|St. Francis in Ecstasy, 1600-1605, oil on canvas|
There are many fine paintings in the museum including this work by El Greco of St. Francis receiving the stigmata. The painter's name is written on the stone below the saint's knee. Notable Spanish painters including Ribera, Zurbarán and Cano are also represented in the collection as are European artists like Tintoretto and Van Dyck.
The Museo Cerralbo is on Calle Ventura Rodriguez, 17. Metro: Ventura Rodriguez or Plaza de España. www.mcu.museocerralbo.es.
Images by TravelswithCharie