Although overshadowed by the famous
Thyssen and all the other great art collections in Madrid, the Lázaro Galdiano
Museum is actually one of the city's best art museums, showcasing works by many of Europe's Old Masters.
Housed in the former home of writer and entrepreneur José Lázaro Galdiano, it is made up of his exceptional private collection of fine and applied art which he left to his nation upon his death in 1947.
Visitors are instantly impressed as soon as they step into the colossal central hall which rises through two floors. From there, a number of outstanding works of art are displayed throughout this aristocratic mansion, built in 1903 in Italian style.
The highlights include Goya portraits, a series of beautiful Limoges enamels, and a cross-shaped pocket-watch worn by Charles V. Also of note is "The Saviour", a portrait attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, and a creepy Bosch canvas showing people devouring human flesh.
Other artists featured in the collection include the great Spanish painters Velazquez, El Greco, and Murillo among others, as well as English artists such as Turner and Reynolds, and the Italians Tiepolo and Guardi.
From the Flemish school to the 19th century, the examples here are magnificent. Bosch, Carreño de Miranda, El Greco, Murillo, Velázquez and
Goya are some of the artists on display, organized by period and distributed among the former mansion's various exhibition rooms.
You may also visit the library that contains over 20,000 books, and if you're interested in the former owner's life or the building itself, note the descriptions and photographs in every room, showing what each space was used for when Galdiano lived there.
With fewer crowds than the other great Madrid museums, this is the city's hidden gem and an exceptional off-the-beaten-path experience.
Address: c/ Serrano 122, 28006 Madrid
Telephone: 91 561 60 84
Opening hours: 10am to 4:30pm Mondays to Fridays (closed on Tuesdays amd public holidays. The 3rd floor closes at 2pm)
Price: 4 euros (free with the
Madrid Tourist Card).
Metro: Rubén Darío (line 5) and Gregorio Marañón (7 and 10)