Madrid´s newest and museum is set to open later this month with a state-of-the-art gallery, whose construction, which has taken the best part of a quarter of a century, uncovered part of the original Moorish wall with which the city was founded in the 9th century by Emir Muhammed II
The Royal Collections Gallery, located between the Almudena Cathedral and palace features paintings, tapestries, sculptures, decorative art pieces, armoury and sumptuous royal furniture collected by Spanish monarchs over five centuries spanning the Spanish Empire of the Hapsburg to the Bourbon dynasty.
The building gallery was designed by Luis M. Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón, and has won ten architectural awards, including the prestigious 2017 American Architecture Prize.
Ana de la Cueva, president of the National Heritage government agency, said that: “This is the largest museum project in Spain and Europe in decades.”
The inaugural exhibition will feature 650 pieces from the National Heritage’s extensive collection of 170,000 items, including artworks by renowned artists such as Goya, Caravaggio, El Greco, and Bosch
Additionally the gallery will showcase possibly the world’s finest tapestry collection and an astonishing assortment of carriages and royal furniture.
The artworks of the Royal Collections do not belong to the Spanish crown but to the state, under the National Heritage agency which manages some palaces, monasteries, convents, and royal gardens across the country.
“With this coexistence of such extraordinary pieces shown through such a clear chronological resource, it really turns the gallery into a museum of museums,” says gallery director Leticia Ruiz.
Among the notable pieces in the new gallery is a polychrome cedar wood sculpture from 1692 depicting Saint Michael slaying the Devil.
Created by Luisa Roldán, the first female sculptor to serve the Spanish court, the sculpture is currently undergoing restoration in preparation for the opening.
Among other highlights is a painting by Diego Velázquez, depicting a horse rearing up without a rider.
‘White Horse’ was last shown to the public in 2015 during a temporary exhibition in Paris.
Also featured is a massive 16th-century tapestry once owned by Spain’s Queen Isabella and the very first edition of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote.