The King and Queen of Spain inaugurate the Royal Collections Gallery
The Gallery of the Royal Collections and National Heritage, in Madrid, is now open to the public with an inaugural exhibition of 650 pieces.
Their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia inaugurate the Royal Collections Gallery and National Heritage, at the Royal Palace in Madrid. The collection is now open to the public, with an inaugural exhibition of 650 pieces.
The creation of the Royal Collections Gallery - Galería de las Colecciones Reales - is the most important museum project of the last decades in Spain
His Majesty King Felipe VI highlighted the role of the Gallery as "the entity and work of the institution that safeguards and manages an immense cultural and natural heritage received through successive reigns and dynasties, shared today by all Spaniards." According to King Felipe VI, Spain's Royal National Heritage "is rooted in the history of Spain and the Crown, and watches over our cultural heritage, one of the most important in all of Europe."
The Royal Collections Gallery serves as a showcase of what National Heritage - Patrimonio Nacional - means in its role as a cultural institution. It exhibits a selection of the prodigious art collections gathered by the Crown over the last five centuries, which, is now the heritage of Spain.
Chronologically organized from the end of the Middle Ages to the present day, the most exquisite examples of painting, decorative arts, furniture, porcelain, glass, musical instruments, armours, and tapestries. A stroll through its rooms allows one to understand the evolution of taste and royal collecting in parallel to the history of Spain.
The Gallery is born as a complement to the Royal Sites and Royal Patronages managed by Patrimonio. Displayed and organized by reigns and themes, the collection can be admired in its historical context, creating a narrative that helps us understand the role of the Spanish Monarchy through time.
The last sections of the museum's tour explain what National Heritage is today, with its dual role of conserving and managing the cultural and natural assets it safeguards, as well as providing institutional support to the His Majesty King Felipe VI, Spain’s Head of State.
All of this is exhibited in a 20th-century building that in itself is a modern work of art. The project that allows admiring the pieces integrated into the surroundings of the Royal Palace -Palacio Real- and the Campo del Moro. The exhibition rooms offer an unprecedented view of the city of Madrid.
Spain's Royal National Heritage conceives the Gallery as a living space and a meeting place: the exhibition will be renewed periodically, allowing for the display of newly restored pieces, showing other works lent for temporary exhibitions, or for hosting corporate events.
A journey through the Gallery
After entering through Plaza de la Almudena, the exhibition on the first room begins with the Catholic Monarchs. The tapestry collections and the Royal Armory interact with works by artists such as El Bosco, Titian, El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, and Caravaggio, among others. This floor offers a privileged view of Madrid's origins: the 9th-century wall uncovered during the building's construction, which is also explained through an audiovisual presentation.
The second floor shows the plans of the Royal Palace of Madrid, built by Philip V, in 1764, after the fire of the Moorish Fortress, el Alcázar, and the recent addition built by the architects Emilio Tuñón Alvarez and Luis Moreno Mansilla, to house the National Heritage Collection.
In words of His Majesty King Felipe VI, "The result is a unique Gallery that, despite its monumental scale, welcomes without overwhelming, that looks towards nature and its surroundings, and that incorporates even the remains of the Arab Wall of Madrid. This superb 21st-century building, designed by architects Emilio Tuñón and Luis Mansilla, magnificently integrated into the historical ensemble of the Royal Palace of Madrid, serves as a wonderful external balcony overlooking the Campo del Moro.”
Musical instruments, furniture, and decorative arts will coexist with works by Mengs, Goya, Tiepolo, Paret, and Maella. The final section includes photography and explains how the State, through National Heritage, an organization created in 1940, took on the conservation of the Royal Collections and the opening of the Royal Sites to the public.
The third floor, which can be accessed from Campo del Moro - could be defined as the floor of the 21st century. The newly built “cube ” offers the projection of 360º images of architectural and natural spaces from different Royal Sites. This floor also houses the temporary exhibition hall.
The Gallery is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and on Sundays and holidays from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
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Photos © PatrimonioNacional