This highly personalized collection of often extraordinary art ultimately forms a sketch of its collector: José Lázaro Galdiano (1862–1947), a financier, intellectual, collector, and editor. His collections fill the beautiful Palacio Parque Florido. The museum preserves the mural decorations and room layout of the main floor, but during recent renovations the upstairs rooms were modified to better display and preserve the collections. (Each room has a photo showing how the room was decorated and used in Lázaro’s day.) As an art aficionado and editor of the journal “Goya,” Lazaro held two tenets dear: Painting was the most important of the arts, and every country had a national painting style. He championed the works of Spanish masters, including El Greco, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Ribera, Murillo, and Valdés-Leal. He also collected sculpture and decorative arts that he felt spoke to the Spanish spirit, notably ceramics, silverware, and crystal. But he held special affection for Goya, and managed to acquire an important canvas from the witches’ sabbath series Goya painted in 1798 for the Duchess of Osuna. Lazáro did not stop at the Pyrenees, though. He managed to buy several important Dutch and Flemish paintings, including an uncharacteristically meditative image of John the Baptist in the desert painted by Hieronymous Bosch. Several English portrait and landscape paintings by Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Constable were his indulgence of his wife’s taste. The museum continues on the upper floors with cases of swords and daggers, royal seals, Limoges crystal, Byzantine jewelry, and even some medieval armor.
- Frommer's Staff