The Museum of Navarre is Pamplona’s finest museum. It is housed in the old Hospital of Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia, opposite the Royal Palace, and marks the start of the hill of Santo Domingo. It contains archaeological and art collections directly related to Navarre over its history.
This building has been a museum since 1956, when the size of the collection meant that it could no longer be housed at the old site, the current Counting House. Of the original Hospital of Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia, only the Plateresque façade by Juan de Vilarreal and the chapel survive.
The chapel is an example of the so-called Gothic-Renaissance style found in Pamplona. It has recently been renovated as a permanent room exhibiting Renaissance and Baroque religious art. It Baroque doorway (1733) comes from the Church of la Soledad, in Puente la Reina, and was fitted in 1934.
The new part of the Museum, opened in 1990 and designed by Jordi Garcés and Enric Soria, houses the permanent collection. It is located on the four upper floors of the west wing of the building and the collection is ordered chronologically from the ground floor upwards.
The ground floor is used for temporary exhibitions and conferences. A set of mosaics and archaeological findings are exhibited in the garden facing the city walls. Gothic tracery from the Monastery of Iranzu, in the form of a viewpoint, deserves special mention.
The collection of the Museum of Navarre is set out as follows:
The most prominent works are the Mosaic of Theseus, the Chest from Leyre and Goya’s portrait of the Marqués de San Adrián.
The museum has an interesting collection of Roman mosaics, found mainly in rural villas (Liédena, Lumbier) and from the Later Empire (IV and V centuries). The mosaic of Theseus and the Minotaur (140x160 cm), from Pamplona, is the best known and most valued example. It would have formed the central scene on a floor representing the Cretian labyrinth in its totality. The fight of Theseus is a popular theme in Roman art.
Exceptional example of Hispanoarabic ivory from the Monastery of Leyre, made in the year 1005 in the Medina Zahara workshop for the son of Almanzor. It depicts scenes from courtesan life.
This work by Goya is the pride of the Museum. It is one of the best portraits painted by the Aragonese painter, a personal friend of the Marquis, José María de Magallón y Armendáriz. This nobleman, dressed in French horse-riding attire, was Chamberlain under Jose Bonaparte, Napoleon’s puppet king in Spain.
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