Spanish Art

Spanish Museums: Granada: Museum of Fine Arts of Granada

Spanish Art - Museum of Fine Arts of Granada

The Museum of Fine Arts of Granada (Museo de Bellas Artes de Granada) is a public Spanish art gallery and museum that is dedicated mostly to the paintings and sculptures from the 15th Century to the 20th Century. The main section of the museum's collection consists in the 19th century religious paintings that were part of the original collection at the time of the museum's opening in 1839.


Like many other museums in Spain's provinces, the Museum of Fine Arts of Granada's collection began with the confiscation of artwork by the Mendizábal during the 19th Century. Thanks to Mendizábal's policy, many pieces of art were seized from monasteries and convents that had been abolished and were used in order to set up museums. The Provincial Museum was set up in Santa Cruz la Real, in an old convent of the Domincan Order, and it opened its doors on the 11th of August 1839.

Spanish Art - Museum of Fine Arts of Granada

However, the museum would not stay in this location forever. Fifty years after its inauguration, the museum and its collection were moved to the Town Hall of Granada in calle Escudo del Carmen. In 1897, it relocated again to another local street for a period of time before it was moved to the Casa de Castril in 1923. In the Casa de Castril, the museum's collection had to share the space with the collections of the Archaeological Museum and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias.

Many years before this, people had expressed a wish for the museum to be housed in the Palace of Carlos V. In 1941, this desire was realised as the collection was displayed in the ground floor of the palace. However due to the decrepit state of the palace, the museum's collection had to return to the Casa de Castril for safety.

Thanks to a huge policy of restoration and repairs to the Palace of Carlos V, the Museum of Fine Arts of Granada was eventually moved to the first floor of the palace in 1958. The collection has remained here ever since.

The Building

The Palace of Carlos V (Palacio de Carlos V) has been the headquarters of the Museum of Fine Arts of Granada for over fifty years. The building itself is an annex to one of the most famous buildings in Spain, La Alhambra. However, unlike the Moorish styled la Alhambra, the Palace of Carlos V was built in the Renaissance style and was designed by Pedro Machuca in the 16th Century.

Since the installation of the museum in the Palace of Carlos V, the building has undergone several series of repairs and restorations. In 1994, the ground floor was modified so that it could also contain the collection from the La Alhambra museum. These works also included the removal of the mezzanine floor. Following this, a second site of buildings was also built in order to be able to display more artwork from the collection and to house the administration departments of the museum.

The Collection

Spanish Art - Museum of Fine Arts of Granada

The Museum of Fine Arts of Granada owes a lot of its collection to the confiscation policy of Mendizábal in the 19th Century. However the collection has of course expanded since that time thanks to the efforts of the local council of Granada and the government of Andalusia. Today, the Andalusian government is concentrating its efforts on the improvement of the modern and contemporary sections of the collection.

Some of the oldest works in the museum's collection include the 15th Century statue of Saint Mary of La Alhambra which has been attributed to the sculptor Roberto Alemán. From the 16th Century, the wood relief of the Virgin and Child by Diego de Siloé is also on display. Some of the other most famous artists in the collection at the Museum of Fine Arts of Granada include Alonso Cano, Pedro de Mena and José de Mora.

© Spanish Arts 2011