Great masterpieces will be exhibited in this state-of-the-art gallery, whose construction, over the last 25 years, has uncovered part of the Moorish wall with which the city was founded in the 9th century.
Next month, Spain is set to unveil what is touted as one of Europe’s cultural highlights of the year.
The Royal Collections Gallery, a new museum located in Madrid featuring paintings, tapestries, sculptures, decorative art pieces, armoury and sumptuous royal furniture collected by Spanish monarchs over five centuries, is preparing to open its doors.
Items span from the Spanish Empire of the Hapsburg to the Bourbon dynasty.
Ana de la Cueva, president of the National Heritage government agency, declares, "This is the largest museum project in Spain and Europe in decades."
What will be on display at the Royal Collections Gallery?
The inaugural exhibition will feature 650 pieces from the National Heritage's extensive collection of 170,000 items, including artworks by renowned artists such as Goya, Caravaggio, El Greco, and Bosch.
Additionally the gallery will showcase possibly the world's finest tapestry collection and an astonishing assortment of carriages and royal furniture.
The artworks of the Royal Collections do not belong to the Spanish crown but to the state, under the National Heritage agency which manages some palaces, monasteries, convents, and royal gardens across the country.
“With this coexistence of such extraordinary pieces shown through such a clear chronological resource, it really turns the gallery into a museum of museums,” says gallery director Leticia Ruiz.
Among the notable pieces in the new gallery is a polychrome cedar wood sculpture from 1692 depicting Saint Michael slaying the Devil.
Created by Luisa Roldán, the first female sculptor to serve the Spanish court, the sculpture is currently undergoing restoration in preparation for the opening.
It is believed that Roldán modeled the devil after her husband and possibly used herself as the inspiration for Michael.
A hidden heritage unveiled
The gallery building itself is a masterpiece nestled into the steep hillside, overlooking the majestic Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral.
Designed by Luis M. Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón, the building's narrow and unimposing vertical structure has garnered ten architectural awards, including the prestigious 2017 American Architecture Prize.
However, the gallery possesses an additional element that adds to its significance.
During the construction process, archaeologists unearthed a portion of the city's Arab wall, including one of Madrid's original gates.
Álvaro Soler Del Campo, the archaeologist and chief curator of the Royal Armoury, highlights Madrid as the only capital in the European Union that preserves a fragment of its initial walls.
He explains that Madrid was founded in the mid-9th century by the emir of Cordoba, Mohammed I, as part of a network of fortifications, and that archaeological research has uncovered a foundational gate, a keep, a wall, and other towers.
"The important note is that this means that it is the only capital in the European Union that has Islamic origins and of which we have preserved the remains of its foundations," explains Del Campo.
When does the Royal Collections Gallery open?
The museum's inauguration on June 28 will be carried out by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, after which it will open to the public.
During the initial days, admission will be free of charge.
Check out the video above for a sneak peek inside the stunning museum.