Having fallen ill on my last week in Madrid, I opted out of trips outside the capital and skipped on long walks. Truth is I lost much time just staying in, homebound with coughing fits. Must be the cold spell.
One of Lazaro’s favorites, it is among the first art pieces you’d encounter. No attribution. Bought in Paris from the Marquis de Salamanca’s Collection.
That’s Señor Lazaro right in the middle. Financier, Journalist, Publisher, Art Collector.
By the time I’m well enough to step out, I was reminded not to overdo it. So how about this less-visited museum. No crowds. Below the tourist radar, but highly-recommended for its art treasure and exquisitely-arranged collection.
San Diego de Alcalá. By Franccisco de Zurbarán. 1651-1653.
Not too far from the U.S. Embassy in the fashionable district of Salamanca is Palacio Parque Florido. That’s how the estate is called. The museo housed in the Galdiano Mansion is actually where the childless Lazaro Galdiano lived with his Argentinian wife, Paula Florido. Along with the estate given over to the Government is Señor Galdiano’s impressive collection of paintings, sculpture and other works of art. This one generous intellectual obviously collected without regard for cost. The rich and famous…. and brilliant and classy, may I add. Oh yes, not all those with fame and wealth have intellect and errrr, class. This Galdiano couple did.
The Young Marchioness of Roncali. Madrid. 1838. So young. So elegant.
Another reason to look up!
The couple collected as a matter of personal taste rather than societal dictates. Both Lazaro and his Argentinian wife acquired art pieces like they were perennially on a shopping spree. Moving from Madrid to Paris to New York must have fuelled, stepped up their acquisition mode that every room in this neo-Renaissance 3-storey (or was it 4?) mansion was tastefully done and adorned with art. Even read that some art critics of that time dismissed their collection as “barbaric”, whatever that means. I like that they collected even those art pieces without any attribution. Or that the pieces done by less popular artists didn’t have to compete for more prominent space on the walls, and yes, ceilings, of the lovely mansion. Going from room to room, hall to hall, floor to floor is an adventure. The next step, always a pleasant surprise. The frescoes on the ceilings are magnificent. The Goyas on exhibit pale in size and popularity compared to those in the Prado, but still manage to delight. The portraits present a study in contrast….. from the aristocratic ladies sitting for their portraits to the more relaxed but nevertheless elegant poses of young sitters.
Christ at the Column. Michelangelo Naccherino. 1550-1622. Italian School. Marble.
Young Christ, a late 15th century “Leonardesque” painting traditionally attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Oil on Beech Tree Panel.
A painting of an adolescent Christ intrigued me. It is my first time to see an image of a younger Jesus. Same with the more detailed and morbid painting of the head of San Juan Bautista. Was it really Leonardo da Vinci who painted the young Christ? Or was the painting done by one of Leonardo’s student protegés or apprentices? Just like the controversial “other Mona Lisa” in Museo del Prado, Da Vinci continues to stir controversy centuries later. As for Saint John’s head, this painting was originally listed in the 1570 Medici inventory. Such anatomical details!
Head of Saint John the Baptist. Another “lost original” by Leonardo da Vinci?
Christ Child With Cross of the Passion. No attribution.
Sometimes, a museum visit gets “personal”. I felt that way when I visited Museo Sorolla. Same here. And there’s even less crowd yet more collections! Could the more “intimate experience” be attributed to the fact that the Museo was a former lived-in residence? That its collection was personally handpicked by its owner-collectors, and in the case of the lovely jewelry collection, even worn and lovingly cared for? Good vibes in this museo, for sure.
Goya’s El Verano (Summer). 1786.
Entombment of Christ by Goya. 1771-72
The Museum closes early, and is closed every Tuesday. If you’re doing the rounds of Madrid’s museums, you’d be happy to visit this on a Monday when most other museums are closed. It is easy to spot along the posh Calle Serrano farther away from the shops near the corner of Calle José Abascal. Lastly, don’t forget to ride the glass and wood elevator. I did. Alone. Seated like a queen on the velvet bench inside the tiny enclosure. 🙂
Wood and Glass Elevator in Museo Lazaro Galdiano.
Museo Lazaro Galdiano. Madrid.