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The House-Museum

Vista de la fachada Pulse para ampliar

In 1905 the Marquis bought some ruined houses near the Transito Synagoge, trying to recover a characteristically 16th century Spanish environment, and recreating with it what might have been El Greco's house in Toledo. In fact he bought the so-called houses of the Duchess of Arjona, which were close to the properties of the Marquis of Villena, where El Greco actually lived.

After Eladio Laredo y Carranza's restoration, the building was divided in two: the recreation of El Greco's house, around the courtyard, and the Museum, newly constructed. Later on, in 1925, the chapel was built in the Museum area, in order to install the coffered ceiling and contextualize Saint Bernardine's altarpiece. Thus the so-called "house museum of El Greco" was created, an institution trying to, on one hand, create a museum with a historical ambiance, showing the "house of El Greco" and emphasizing his relation with Toledo, and on the other hand, being a Museum of Spanish Art with paintings ranging from El Greco's time to Vicente Lopez and showing El Greco as one of the best painters in Spanish history. While the Marquis lived the museum was owned by the State, but the house continued being his property until his death in 1942, when this building, as well as all the objects contained therein, were bequeathed to the State. The Vega-Inclán Foundations were created to manage the legacy of the Marquis, which meant the House and Museum of El Greco, the house-museum of Cervantes in Valladolid and the Museum of Romanticism in Madrid, all created by the Marquis de la Vega-Inclán.

The Foundations sought to renovate the museologies inherited from the times of the Marquis, so there were several changes in the assignment of works between the institutions they managed, new pieces were acquired and part of the museographies were changed, making them more attractive to the growing tourism of the 50's and 60's, of the 20th century. In the case of the house-museum, the recreation of rooms with specific functions increased, such as with the workshop, the dais, the hem and the dining room; while in the Museum itself the collections were rearranged, exhibiting the paintings divided by schools.

Don Benigno de la Vega-Inclán Pulse para ampliar

The founder: Marquis of Vega-Inclán

Don Benigno de la Vega-Inclan y Flaquer, II Marquis of Vega-Inclan (1858-1942) was, apart from being a serviceman, a painter, traveller and one of the most important Spanish patrons of the arts in the first half of the 20th century, he was also a developer of different cultural projects with a clear public purpose. On the museum's sphere, his works were a step towards the development of specialized museums; he created the Museo del Greco in Toledo (1911), the Casa de Cervantes in Valladolid (1915), and the Museo del Romanticismo in Madrid (1924), not counting his important role in the creation of the Museo Sorolla. As Royal Commisioner of Tourism between 1911 and 1928 he developed different cultural projects, promoting the network of Paradores Nacionales, as well as the construction of hotels such as the Alfonso XIII in Seville. He was also part of different restoration and heritage promotion enterprises, such as the restoration of the Transito Synagogue, the restoration of the plaster courtyard in Seville's Alcazar and he participated as a member of the Board of the Alhambra.

Apart from being a prominent patron and art dealer, the Marquis was part of the movement for the recuperation and promotion of El Greco's figure. With painters like Rusiñol, Martin Rico or Zuloaga, and historians like Cossio, thanks to whom he came into contact with this intellectual climate, he strongly supported the promotion of El Greco and his role in Spanish history of art.

At the early years of the 20th century don Benigno acquired different houses of the Jewish Quarter of Toledo. These houses were restored by the architect Eladio Laredo, and converted into a peculiar reconstruction of the House of El Greco. From the beginning he granted limited importance to the justified doubts about El Greco having actually lived in the house, deciding instead to commit to the reconstruction of the house and becoming a pioneer in what we now know as museums with historical ambiance. In 1910, with the construction works finished, the Marquis donated to the State everything except the house itself, which he used as a dwelling until his death in 1942, when it was bequeathed to the State.

The 27th of April 1910 a Trust (nonexistent nowadays) was stablished with important figures of the cultural, artistic and political spheres. The museum opened to the public the 12th of June 1910. This initiative enabled the recovery of works of art by El Greco that were scattered throughout the city of Toledo. The Marquis also helped with the restoration of these works, executed in the Museo del Prado's restoration workshop before being exhibited. In 1925 the museum underwent refurbishmentadding adding new rooms in order to exhibit paintings from Spanish schools dating to the 17th century.

View of the study (1910-1953) Pulse para ampliar
Museum rooms (1910-1953) Pulse para ampliar
Upper garden (1910-1953) Pulse para ampliar
Lower garden (1910-1953) Pulse para ampliar