One of Madrid’s leading art museums and most famous artistic training schools, the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Art, or the Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes San Fernando, features an impressive collection of 15th -20th century European art. Founded in 1752, the museum is perhaps most famous for its many Goya paintings – the Spanish master was the institution’s painting director for many years – and works include his ‘Self-portrait in front of the Easel’.
Over 1500 paintings and 570 sculptures make up the museum’s main collection, with a predominant focus on Spanish, Flemish and Italian artists. Notable artists include Leandro Bassano, Vincent Lopez, José Ribera, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Joaquín Sorolla, Ignacio Zuloaga, Velázquez and Haes, with sculptures by Mariano Benlliure, Picasso and Pablo Gargallo, to name a few. Further exhibits showcase around 15,000 drawings and prints, along with displays of silverware, jewelry and porcelain.
The museum building itself is also worth a second look – a grand baroque residence designed in the 17th-century by José Benito de Churriguera and retaining many of its rich original interiors.