The Cerralbo Museum

Dating of the building: 1893 - 1922.

Applicant: Lourdes Vaquero Argüelles.

Reason for the award :

For the restoration of the building and the excellent idea of rescuing the entire collection of its founder, restoring them and returning them to the place they occupied, and therefore giving back to this museum its character as a palace-museum.

The restoration allows the public to appreciate the collector’s spirit of the Belle Epoque in a building designed for these purposes.

The Cerralbo Museum is the only palace-museum in Madrid that has rebuilt its original environments with the accurate location of its authentic pieces. It is a benchmark for Spanish collecting in the last decades of the 19th century, as well as a testimony to the way of life of Madrid’s high society. The building, a mansion from 1893 with a garden in the Argüelles neighbourhood, was built by Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, 17th Marquis of Cerralbo (1845-1922) who willed it to the Spanish nation. The initial arrangement of the collections was remarkably altered and therefore, also the entire original setting. This alteration was due to the Civil War and plans for its expansion in 1948.

Considering the decorative setting as a historical-artistic value worthy of protection, a series of specific recovery campaigns have been carried out, room by room, on what was the main floor of the Cerralbo palace. Starting with a scientific interpretation of the inventory, carried out in 1924 by Juan Cabré, the Museum’s first director, and following meticulous work by a multidisciplinary team, the rooms have been returned to the way they were during the life of Marquis of Cerralbo. That was the criterion that governed the interventions begun at a theoretical study level in 2000 and carried out between 2002 and 2013.

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