National Archaeological Museum

Madrid, Spain

The National Archaeological Museum (Museo Arqueológico Nacional or MAN) is Spain’s most important museum of history. It preserves, researches and presents its collections of archaeology, art and history to the public. In doing so, the museum aspires to offer all visitors an accurate, attractive, interesting and critical interpretation of the meaning of objects from the past, in the hopes that a deeper knowledge of history will help them to better analyse and understand the reality of today. Given the relevance and scope of its collections, the National Archaeological Museum is comparable in its specialty to prominent Spanish museums (Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sofía or the Royal Collections Gallery), by showing our country’s diversity and affluence in terms of cultural history.

The museum occupies a monumental building in the heart of the Salamanca quarter, one of Madrid’s busiest shopping and leisure districts, and is strategically positioned along the Recoletos-Prado artery, which boasts the highest concentration of art and culture institutions in the city. The museum’s magnificent building in the heart of Madrid offers a historical infrastructure — complete with building, garden and fence —which is fully renovated and accessible.

The MAN has grown and evolved constantly since it was created in 1867, almost 160 years ago, and is still changing today to meet the needs of the 21st century. After a complete overhaul between 2008 and 2014, the institution reopened in April 2014 with a brand-new look and layout, claiming its place among Europe’s most modern museums. The renovated building is divided into six floors and has a total surface area of nearly 30,000 m2, of which 18,304 m2 are reserved for public use (the permanent exhibition alone occupies 9,239 m2). The museum has also been fitted out with different service areas, including a spacious vestibule, café, shop and activity rooms.

The MAN’s extraordinary collection, which includes a large number of priceless historical and cultural artefacts, comprises over one million archaeological, historical and artistic objects.

Its holdings are vast and varied: Palaeolithic bifaces, practically the only tool in existence for millennia; delicate ivory carvings that combine aesthetic appeal with practical functionality; prehistoric engravings found in the Cave of El Castillo, evidence of humanity’s earliest artistic and symbolic expressions; the abstract aesthetics of the “Idol of Extremadura”; the classical, timeless beauty of the Lady of Elche; ancient Roman sculptures; the extraordinary treasure of Guarrazar; the Romanesque crucifix of Ferdinand and Sancha; the lovely equestrian figure of Hector by Il Filarete; and the ornamental paintings of Luis Paret on a Baroque armchair are just some of the treasures it houses.

The Museum's Islamic Art collection largely comes from the different historical periods of Al-Andalus, the name that the Muslims gave to the territory they conquered in the Iberian Peninsula. The aesthetic quality achieved by Andalusian art is demonstrated in the architectural capitals, arches, marble panels and alabaster and plaster decorations of the period, especially from the Caliphate of Córdoba. Added to this is the museum's collection of decorative and highly refined objects made in the Andalusian palace workshops, such as metal, ivory and glazed ceramics. Likewise, a large collection of objects is preserved that show the symbiosis of Hispano-Islamic and Christian forms in the Iberian Peninsula, as the dome of the Torrijos Palace.

Serrano, 13
Madrid, Spain
T +34 91 577 79 12
F +34 91 432 68 40

Mª Jesús Rubio Visiers
T +34 91 5777912 (ext. 273590)

Beatriz Campderá Gutiérrez

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