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Lesser-known museums

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Madrid's interesting museums are not limited to the three of the Golden Triangle. Certainly we would suggest that a visitor who is short of time visit the big three first but if you can make time you'll find many treasures in the museums listed below, which in turn may offer refreshingly uncrowded and charming environments.

If you've heard of an exhibition or museum not listed here, make sure you check that it isn't listed under Public exhibitions and foundations; also, if you've a yearning to see (even if you can't afford to buy) the avant-garde or art you might purchase, you should take a look at the pages on commercial art galleries. Most of this museums/galleries have websites so make sure you look up the opening hours before headingh towards them. Many art spaces close their doors on Mondays.

Websites of the Museums in Madrid
 Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales

 Museo de América
 Museo Arqueológico
 Museo de Calcografía Nacional
 Museo Casa de la Moneda
 Museo de Cera
 Museo Cerralbo
 Museo del Ejército
 Museo del Ejército del Aire. Museo de Aeronáutica y   Astronáutica
 Museo del Ferrocarril
 Museo Geominero
 Museo Lázaro Galdiano
 Museo de Mineralogía
 Museo Nacional de Antropología
 Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas
 Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
 Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales
 Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología
 Museo Nacional de Reproducciones Artísticas
 Museo Naval
 Museo Panteón de Hombres Ilustres
 Museo Postal y Telegráfico
 Museo del Prado
 Museo Romántico
 Museo de Sanidad e Higiene Pública
 Museo Sorolla
 Museo Taurino
 Museo de las Telecomunicaciones
 Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
 Museo Tiflológico de la ONCE
 Museo del Traje
 Observatorio Astronómico Nacional
 Real Fabrica de Tapices
 Real Monasterio de La Encarnación
Academies
 Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

 Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales
 Real Academia de Ciencias Morales y Políticas
 Real Academia de Farmacia
 Real Academia de Legislación y Jurisprudencia
 Real Academia de Historia
 Real Academia de Nacional de Medicina
 Real Academia Española
 
Others
 Auditorio Nacional de Música

 Casa de América
 Circulo de Bellas Artes
 Fundación Carlos de Amberes
 Fundación Juan March
 Instituto Alemán
 Instituto Británico
 Instituto Cervantes
 Instituto de España
 Instituto Frances de Madrid
 Instituto Italiano de Cultura
 La Casa Encendida
 Madrid Opera In 2003-2004
 Patrimonio Nacional
 Planetario de Madrid
 Palacio de El Pardo
 Palacio Real
 Teatro Real
 Teatro de la Zarzuela
 

Museums described in this guide include:

San Antonio de la Florida
Address: Paseo de la Florida, 5
Metro: Príncipe Pío

The Palacio RealWhen you arrive you'll actually find two identical chapels; one is the original —which you will want to visit— and the other is a copy which was built so that religious services could be held at this location without damaging the works in the former. The original chapel contains some lovely Goya fresco paintings, so if you enjoyed the Goya exhibits in the Prado, then don't miss the opportunity to see these.

After visiting the chapel, you may want to take advantage of your locale to pass by Madrid's small river, the Manzanares, or visit the Parque del Oeste, which is almost as large as the Retiro, and much less crowded —and with a more varied landscape— during the day (though not recommended at night). If you're hungry, there's another nearby landmark; the casa Mingo, famous for roast chicken and cider.

Palacio Real
(Royal Palace)
Address: Calle Bailén s/n
Metro: Opera
Zone: Opera
Map: B-9
Website  

 

The Palacio RealThe Palacio Real or Royal Palace (also known as the Palace of Orient) is no longer used as the royal residence, but has been kept intact since it last functioned as home to the king- Today it primarily serves as a tourist attraction. The entire palace is not open to the public, but most of the more important rooms can be visited. The palace is interesting in its own right, in particular its architecture and gardens There are two, the Jardines del Moro and the Jardines de Sabattini gardens. There are also some excellent frescos inside the palace by Tiépolo and paintings by Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, El Greco, Juan de Flandes and Caravaggio, among others.
www: patromonio

The Royal Palace was built after the earlier Muslim Alcázar burned down on Christmas Day 1734, this was the principal royal residence until Alfonso XIII went into exile in 1931. The present royal family inhabits a more modest residence on the western outskirts of the city, using the Palacio Real only on state occasions. The building scores high on statistics: it claims more rooms than any other European palace; a library with one of the biggest collections of books, manuscripts, maps and musical scores in the world; an armoury with an unrivalled and often bizarre collection of weapons dating back to the fifteenth century; and an original pharmacy, a curious mixture of alchemist's den and early laboratory. Take your time to contemplate the extraordinary opulence of the place: acres of Flemish and Spanish tapestries, endless Rococo decoration, bejewelled clocks and pompous portraits of the monarchs. In the Sala del Trono (Throne Room) there's a magnificent frescoed ceiling by Tiepolo representing the glory of Spain – an extraordinary achievement for an artist by then in his seventies.

The palace, inspired by sketches made by Bernini for the construction of the Louvre in Paris, is built in the form of a square and looks out over a large courtyard with galleries and a parade ground. The living quarters are distributed over six floors, and only the most important rooms look out from the external façades.

The main entrance to the palace is built into the façade that overlooks the Plaza de Armas, a huge esplanade which, though walled, is directly connected with the entrance to the Almudena Cathedral. This is a perfect setting for military parades by the Royal Guard or the Army, and the king often inspects the troops here. The western edge opens onto the gardens of the Campo del Moro, while to the east the building looks out over the Plaza de Oriente.

National Archeologic Museum
Address: Serrano 13
Metro: Serrano/Colón
Zone: Salamanca
Map: N-4
Website  
La Dama de ElcheThrough 43 rooms the man's history is contemplated from its origins until the Modern Age. Among their good known works it highlights the Lady of Elche, the Crowns of Guarrazar or the reproduction of the roof of the Caves of Altamira (the original cave being in Cantabria, on the Northern coast fo Spain), with its famous prehistoric paintings.
www: man.es
Municipal Museum
Address: Fuencarral, 78
Metro: Tribunal
Zone: Malasaña
Map: H-3
Website  

To highlight the magnificent entrance of Pedro of Ribera of Baroque style (1.722). In the interior paintings by Goya, Sorolla, and Eugenio Lucas. Also a model to scale of the city in the year 1.833.
www: munimadrid.es/Principal/ayuntamiento/ServMuni/cultura/museos/

Museo Sorolla
Address: General Martínez Campos, 37
Metro: Iglesia / Ruben Darío
Zone: Ríos Rosas
Website  

This small museum, located in Sorolla's Madrid residence (he was actually from Valencia), contains a mixture of post-impressionist and Spanish school art. The museum has been preserved in its original state and almost all of its rooms are open to the public. Apart from many paintings by Sorolla himself, there are works from representative artists of this time period (for example the sculptor Benlliure).
The building's gardens are a lovely addition to the museum, which will no doubt be of special interest to lovers of figurative art, bright colour, and the Mediterranean sun.
www: http://museosorolla.mcu.es/

Museo de América
Address: Avda. Reyes Católicos 6
Metro Moncloa
Website  


This collection of pre-Columbian art and anthropological items from all parts of the one-time Spanish Americas is recommended for anyone interested in native American culture or in non-European art forms and cultures. In particular the museum contains the famous Cortesano Manuscript, one of four remaining Mayan manuscripts.
www: museodeamerica.mcu.es/
Romántico Museum
Address: San Mateo 13
Metro Tribunal
Zone Chueca
Map: I-2
Website  




Through the variety of its exhibits, this little museum near the city centre provides a lovely representation of the ambience of the 19th century. You'll find examples of Spanish art, furnishings, decorative objects and documents from this time period. There's a room dedicated to the century's literary figures and artists, a 19th century dancing room, etc. In the chapel you'll find a 'San Gregorio' by Goya. In addition to having a few important art pieces this museum is a most pleasant way to learn something about this period of history. You can also take advantage of the museum's location in the city to see a little of the areas in its proximity: Malasaña, Chueca, and Alonso Martínez.
www: museoromantico.mcu.es/

Open air sculpture site
Paseo de la Castellana (under Calle Juan Bravo bridge)
Metro Ruben Darío
Zone: Castellana
Map: N-95

Stemming from an old Madrileño tradition of placing art in the streets this is a small outdoor exhibition of works from Spanish sculptors from the 50's and 60's. The best time to visit this museum is Sunday afternoon, firstly because other museums in the city are closed at this time and secondly because it is located below the Juan Bravo bridge, and Sunday afternoon is when noise from the traffic overhead is probably at its least bothersome.
Cerralbo Museum
Address: Ventura Rodríguez 17
Metro Ventura Rodríguez / Pza. España
Zone: Moncloa-Argüelles
Map: A-4
Website  


One of the most intriguing museums in the city, the Museo Cerralbo was originally the home of the seventeenth Marquis of Cerralbo, donated upon his death in 1922 with the intention that it be converted into a museum. Consisting of a collection of his former possessions, the exhibits include arms, watches, furnishings and paintings, among which can be found works of Verones, El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán and Alonso Cano. An unusual but interesting collection.
www: museocerralbo.mcu.es/

Lázaro Galdiano Museum
Address: Serrano 122
Zone: Salamanca
Metro Núñez de Balboa
Website  


Like the Cerralbo Museum, this space is the result of the donation of a private collection, in this case by businessman José Lázaro Galdiano (1862-1947). Some 15,000 paintings and art objects, collected over his lifetime, are on display in Galdiano's beautiful mansion. This private collection is now considered one of the finest and most extensive in Spain. There is an exceptionally good representation of decorative arts (gold, silver, old-weapons, jewellery, ceramics) and a broad collection of Spanish school paintings which includes an entire room of Goya, and works by Murillo and Ribera. There are paintings from Flemish School by Van Eyck, Mabuse and El Bosco. There is also a painting attributed to Leonardo and a few English School works by Constable, Gainsborough, Reynolds and others. It is well worth one's trouble to make the effort to visit this relatively little known museum, which has an excellent collection even if not all of its works are ideally exhibited.
Museum of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
Address: Alcalá, 13
Metro Sol / Sevilla
Zone: Sol
Map: H-10
Website  

Created in 1774, the Royal Academy of San Fernando is the oldest art institute in Madrid and possibly in Spain. Much of what is on exhibit here has come from donations from artists trying to be admitted into the Academy or from others who held grants to work there. In addition to paintings of the Spanish school (Juan de Herrera, Zurbarán, Goya, etc.), there are collections of drawings, architectural plans and some interesting books (for example the second edition of the Latin 'Treaty of Human Proportion' by Dürer). There are also etchings which are now used to make prints for sale to the general public.

This museum provides an excellent complement to the Prado and Thyssen, showing through its lesser known pieces some of what might be considered a neglected aspect of Spanish culture.
www: rabasf.insde.es

Museo del Traje (Costume Museum)
Address: Av juan de Herrera, 2
Metro Ciudad Universitaria, Moncloa
Zone: Moncloa - Universitaria
Map: Ciudad Universitaria
Website  

The Museo del Traje, is a National Museum, its aim is to promote an understandind of the historical development of costume and testify to the ethnological heritage representative of the different cultures of the peoples of Spain.

www: museodeltraje.mcu.es

Royal Monastery of the Descalzas Reales
Address: Plaza de las
Descalzas 3
Metro Sol/Callao/Opera
Zone: Sol
Map: F-10
Website

Right in the centre of Madrid, this monastery holds a superb collection of paintings, among which can be found works by Tiziano, Sebastian del Piombo, Luini, Brueghel, Rubens, Van Cleve, Sanchez and Coello. Also on display are religious images and tapestries. The monastery was founded by Juana de Austria, sister of Philip II, and for this reason was the chosen place for many women of nobility who wanted to enter the order. With them came many of the treasures found here.

The conventual buildings preserve all the structure and many of the decorative features of the Plateresque palace, including the Main Staircase and the Royal Apartments where the Princess Juana, and later her sister the Dowager Empress María (who died here in 1603), lived in retirement. Seventeenth-century frescoes by Mantuano and Francisco de Ricci decorate the Main Staircase and the Chapel of the Miracle.
www: patrimonionacional.es/descalza

Royal Monastery of La Incarnation (Encarnación)
Address: Plaza de la
Encarnación 1
Metro Opera / Santo Domingo
Zone: Sol
Map: E-9
Website

Located in one of Madrid's most attractive areas, this monastery was founded by Margarita of Austria, wife of Philip II. The religious façade dates back to 1616, though the rest of the building was rebuilt after a fire in the Alcazar, to which this building was attached. Inside there are paintings by Luini, Ribera and Carducho. There are also some sculptures from this time period by Perronius, Gregorio and Fernandez.

Among multitude of objects belonging to saints, it is necessary to stand out the relic that contains the coagulated blood of San Pantale—n that every year is liquefied July 27, congregating at hundred of devote to contemplate the 'milagro' that, in the event of non happen, it announces tragedies for the following year.

The remaining paintings date from the reign of King Ferdinand VI (mid-18th century). The frescoes are by the González Velázquez brothers.
www: patrimonionacional.es/encarna