At the Lazaro Galdiano Museum
By Marta Lasota
Photos courtesy of the museums
Museo del Romanticismo
C/ San Mateo, 13
Similarly to the Cerralbo Museum, The Museum of Romanticism also explores the Romantic period during the 19th century in Spain. While the Cerralbo Museum represents the Romantic period through one family’s home, the Museum of Romanticism aims to depict the time period in general.
The museum’s exhibition of fashion and furniture, although taken from various sources, overall reveals common thematic explorations of the time. One such theme, the expression of the self through symbols of status, can be seen through the lavish ornamentation throughout the museum. Yet what is especially interesting about this museum is that it does not glamorize the Romantic period, but instead reveals some of its often overlooked discrepancies.
Although grandeur was treasured at the time, this mania for luxury came with a cost. The obsession over wealth and status created an aura of pretentiousness and pompousness that led many to commit suicide. Thus, the highlighted duality of outward extravagance and hidden insincerity gives this museum a truly unique presentation of the Romantic period that is worth a visit.
Museo Lazaro Galdiano
C/ Serrano, 122
The Lazaro Galdiano Museum is an exposition of the private artistic collection of Lazaro Galdiano, an interesting figure with a distinctive professional and personal history. A law school graduate, journalist, and later art critic, Galdiano had a passion for art that led him to possess one of the largest private art collections in Spain with some rather renowned and distinguished pieces.
More than the art within the museum, the museum itself is appealing because it is Galdiano’s curation, shaped from his particular artistic tastes and personal preferences. It is intriguing to walk through the museum with this perspective in mind, as what Galdiano chose to include in his collection does send a message about what he personally deemed artistically valuable.
Because this museum is now held in what was in fact Galdiano’s home, in each room of the museum there is also a placard indicating what purpose the room served and how it originally looked during Galdiano’s life. Thus, this museum is not just an exhibition of a famous artistic collection, but is, if ever so subtly, an exploration of Galdiano himself.