It used to be a private mansion, though it looks more like a palace to me. Its former owner, the Marquis of Cerralbo,  was a patron of the arts as his collections obviously show.  The Museum opened in 1944 and can be found a few meters from the corner of Calle Bailén/Calle Ferraz and Calle Ventura Rodriguez, 17, in Madrid. If you are in the area visiting Plaza de España and Templo de Debod, it’s a good pitstop (from the cold or all that sun) before proceeding towards Calle Bailén to view the Palacio Real or Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral. 




Museo Cerralbo is along Calle Ventura Rodriguez, 17, just off Plaza de españa and Templo de Debod.


Frankly, the staircase and interiors of museo cerralbo intimidate me. But then again, a Marquis lived here!



From Plaza de España, I was walking towards Templo de Debod along Calle Bailen growing into Calle Ferraz, when I was tempted to take a right turn in Calle Ventura Rodriguez upon seeing the marker towards Museo Cerralbo. I joined many locals, including young students, when I got there, and felt like i was the only tourist.  First off upon entry, the ornately decorated staircase and walls with many prized and large paintings —- like they were running out of space —- simply floored me.  Whoa, some treasure here! 





This Salon must be their equivalent of a living room? Look at that ceiling!



It makes for a good break after visiting the “BIG 3” in the Paseo del Prado. Of course you can’t miss the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums.  But what I love about small museums is that they’re “manageable”, won’t overwhelm, and best of all….they are  mostly former residences of the collector or artist himself!  Another museum, Museo Sorolla, ranks high among my favorites as the museo gives a glimpse of how the artist Sorolla lived and painted during his life.  As for Museo Cerralbo, here is one example of how the aristocrats lived then. Their mansions have huge salons fit for parties and their dining halls are meant for banquets. Adorning the walls is an impressive spread of their art collections. I can imagine them aristocrats taking a “stroll” along these corridors, pausing here and there, appreciating the many art pieces. 




St. Joseph and the Child Jesus. Quite a takeoff from the usual Madonna and Child.


The marker says it is one of many versions done by Girolamo Muziano (1580-1590)



The first oil painting is NOT attributed to any artist. Yes, it’s ANONYMOUS.  The marker says it was sourced from  an Italian School,  done presumably by one of its art students who drew inspiration from a Madonna and Child painting by Guido Reni, a master from a school in Bologna. This anonymous piece of art got my attention.  I love art themed on the Madonna and Child.  EXCEPT that this is NOT your usual Madonna & Child. Rather, it’s Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus. The second oil on canvas is done by Girolamo Muziano, the same 16th-century painter who did the same versions in at least 3 more Italian churches including the Saint Peter’s Basilica.




This one is from the Spanish School where works are mainly religious paintings.


A very intimidating corridor, fit for royalty.


Having actually lived here, the Mansion has its living, dining and sleeping quarters. Mind you though, they are far from the ordinary or standard quarters. I bet the Marquis did a lot of entertaining. After all, what are all those conversation pieces for? The collection could have covered conversations good for a month or longer! Besides, many royal guests from the nearby Palacio Real or Royal Palace must have whiled away some time here in the Mansion. Imagine them walking along the corridors, pausing for a break in the huge salon, or dining in the banquet room.




The Banquet Room in Museo Cerralbo.


Too many conversation pieces inside Museo Cerralbo 🙂



For all its grandeur though, I am perplexed how or why the Marquis chose to keep his bedroom so modest. It just doesn’t add up. Maybe sleeping or resting ranks low in his priorities? Check out the last photo here and tell me what you think. 😉




Yes, he’s the man. Don Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, 17th Marquis of Cerralbo.


Would you believe this is the royal bedroom of the Marquis?

Now compare that with one of his offices……..