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Thursday, August 01, 2013 (read 552 times)
Museums in Salamancaby Abigail
Named European Capital of Culture in 2002, the medieval university town of Salamanca offers an impressive array of museums which attract millions of visitors every year. Found within striking and diverse buildings, the extensive range of artwork greatly varies both in the era in which it was produced and the form which it takes.
· Salamanca Museum (Museo de Salamanca) is most famously home to the religious paintings of “Llanto por Cristo Muerto” by Luis de Morales and “San Andrés” by Juan de Flandes.
· Boasting a collection of around 2500 pieces of artwork, the Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco (Museo de Art Nouveau y Art Déco) became one of the most frequented museums in the region of Castilla and Léon following its opening in April 1995.
· Miguel de Unamuno, whose former residence in Salamanca has been converted into the Casa Museo Unamuno (Unamuno House Museum), was ordered to be executed by General Francisco Franco in 1936 owing to his rebellion against the dictatorial regime.
Located in the Patio de Escuelas, 2, and adjacent to the academic buildings of Salamanca University, Salamanca Museum combines Gothic and Renaissance architectural designs. Also known as the Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts), the 15th Century palatial building originally belonged to Fernando Álvarez Abarca, doctor to Queen Isabella the Catholic who, along with her husband King Ferdinand, is greatly renowned for sponsoring Columbus’ voyage of discovery. Within the museum walls, an assortment of artwork can be found including sculptures, paintings, altarpieces and archeological discoveries which span from the 14th Century to the present day.
Deemed by many as a work of art in itself, the stained-glass façade and modernist building of the Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco was originally constructed as a private palace for Don Miguel de Lis in 1906, a merchant from Salamanca who held a great passion for Art Nouveau. Accordingly named Casa Lis, the museum now contains a mixture of glassware, ceramics and sculptures from the 19th and 20th Centuries created by highly reputed artists such as RenéLalique, Émile Gallé and Demetre Chiparus.
Lining the walls of the building, the captivating, multicoloured, stained-glass windows serve to frame the landscape beyond them and, in this sense, transform the exterior views into images worthy of being hung on a wall themselves.
Miguel de Unamuno
Renowned in the literary world for his works and ideas as a novelist, poet, playwright and philosopher, Miguel de Unamuno first arrived in Salamanca in 1891 and remained in the city intermittently from 1891 until his death in 1936. Initially a Greek professor at Salamanca University, Unamuno subsequently became the dean of the prestigious institution in 1900 and this great interest in academic study is reflected in the Unamuno House Museum today as the curious visitor can find more than 6000 books in his former office and private library. Additionally filled with furniture, personal items and mementos, the museum offers an insight into the life of not only an intellectual genius but also a political rebel who was exiled twice and, narrowly escaping Franco´s order of execution was eventually put under house arrest where he died from a heart attack.
Having shared only a glimpse of Salamanca´s intriguing museums, tourists can rest assured that this city, so steeped as it is in history, provides artwork and artifacts which are sure to impress, enlighten and inspire.
Keywords: spanish language,salamanca,salamanca spain,miguel de unamuno,salamanca university,museums spain