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Art of aspiring students to the art school
Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando is one of Madrid’s most important and oldest permanent artistic institutions. The eclectic collection is partly made up of works of varying quality donated by aspiring members in order to gain admission to the academy.
The museum’s greatest possessions, though, are its 13 works by Goya, an important figure in the early years of the Academia. They include two major self-portraits; a portrait of his friend, the playwright Moratín; a portrait of Charles IV’s hated minister Godoy; and the Burial of the Sardine (see p206 Picture this), a carnival scene that foreshadows his later, darker works. Another of the academy’s most prized possessions is the Italian mannerist Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s Spring, a playful, surrealistic portrait of a man made up entirely of flowers.
There are also important portraits by Velázquez and Rubens, and several paintings by Zurbarán. Among the later works, the best known are some Picasso engravings and a Juan Gris; the most surprising are the colorful fantasies of Múñoz Degrain and the De Chirico-esque work of Julio Romero de Torres. In the same building is the Calcografía Nacional, a similarly priceless collection and archive of engraving and fine printing, which has many of the original plates for the great etching series of Goya
Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
C/Alcalá 13, Madrid, Madrid
Open Hours: 10am- 2pm Mon, Sat, Sun; 9am-7pm Tue-Fri. Calcografía Nacional 9-2.30pm Mon-Fri. Temporary exhibitions 10am-2pm, 5-8pm Tue-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat, Sun.
Price: Cost money