Museums in Badajoz. Find out more information about museums in Badajoz: Extremadura and Ibero-American Contemperary Art, Archaeological and others.
Extremadura and Ibero-American Contemporary Art
The Junta of Extremadura runs this museum that occupies a space that once housed the city’s “preventive and correctional” jail.
Jose Antonio Galea is the architect responsible for this project which includes a museum with 75,000 sq. ft. of exposition space, not including the potential exterior display space.
The name and concept of the museum is the result of an interpretation in line with the objectives established by the Autonomous Community of Extremadura. This mission of the museum was established keeping in mind the Statute of Autonomy of Extremadura which recognizes a preferential historical relationship Extremadura has with Portugal and Latin America. Also, the objecitive of the MEIAC is to stand out with an alternative operating strategy, without excluding traditional forms of stewardship, with respect to traditionally centralized operating models used by museums.
This museum consists of two buildings: a small administrative building along with another, the principal building, which is the preserved panopticon from the previous prison. This historic building is divided in 5 levels with a large open ground floor that is used for temporary collections and expositions. The museum also has spaces dedicated to gardens, archives, library and a theater. The museum houses more than 500 works of art amongst which are works by: Timoteo Pérez Rubio, Ortega Muñoz, Luis Canelo, Eduardo Naranjo, Wolf Vostell, Juan Barjola, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Juliao Sarmento, Leonel Moura, Helena Almeida, Susana Solano, Juan Muñoz, Miquel Navarro, Juan Uslé, Alfredo Jaar, Ray Smith, and Liliana Porter.
In addition to temporary expositions, the museum also hosts concerts with music from the 20th century, projections of films and electronic media, conferences, poetry readings and workshops.
In 1867, the Provincial Monuments Commission, on the instructions of the Central Commission, founded a museum that would later become the Provincial Archeological Museum of Badajoz. After years without having a fixed home, the Museum moved into its present location. In 1989 the museum moved into the Alcazaba of Badajoz, which had just concluded a 17 year renovation. This monument, constructed by the Almohads in the 12th century, would be the new home to the museum, specifically the Palacio de los Condes de la Roca y Duques de Feria. This Palace is an extension of the Alcazaba constructed at the end of 14th century in a renaissance style with Mudejar elements.
The format of the museum revolves around the cultures that have influenced the Badajoz Province in which the Guadiana River plays an important role in the geography of the province. This river has been a determining factor in the growth and development of the region. With that in mind, the museum leads the visitor through a chronological tour of the various periods:
Lower and mid-Paleolithic: represented by pieces of carved quartzite, we will also see how Badajoz had little population during this time.
Copper Age: This area is comprised mostly of the remains of grave goods that have been unearthed, idols and household utensils. There are also examples of early Bronze-Age artifacts as well as ceramic examples of the development of a Bell-Beaker culture.
Iron Age and Orientalizing Period: Here you will find an important collection of warrior stelae dating from the end of the Bronze Age. There is also a small exhibit with pieces dating from the Second Iron Age.
Roman Occupation: Since there is world renowned museum in the neighboring province of Merida dedicated solely to the world of Emerita Augusta, here we will find an exhibition focusing on Roman settlements found in Badajoz and exploring the aspects of day to day living during the Roman Age.
Middle Ages: Here we will see the latter part of the Roman Age around the time of the introduction of Christianity, which would be the new unifying force in the late Imperial Roman period. There are also examples illustrating the Visigothic presence in Badajoz. Also important are the architectural expositions that give the visitor the opportunity to appreciate the excellent collection of Visigothic and Islamic architectural pieces.
Complementing your visit to the museum is a must see visit to the Alcazaba, one of the most important military installations constructed during the Moorish occupation that remains well preserved to this day. Finally there is a small area dedicated to the Christian Lower Middle Age.
This museum also has exposition spaces and conference areas which are programmed throughout the year along with an excellent collection of teaching material and publications.
Museum of Fine Art
The Badajoz Provincial Museum of Fine Art was inaugurated in January of 1920 in one of the rooms located in the Provincial Council building. In the beginning the museum had only 58 works of art on display and since then has been continually growing in size. Over the years it has been able to increase its patrimony by sourcing works found in state-run museums, through donations and by acquiring works available on the market.
This continued growth forced the Provincial Council to consider finding a new home for this budding museum and at the end of the 1970’s acquired a building on Melendez Valdes Street in Badajoz. Not long after moving in to their new home in 1979, the museum realized that this space still would not be sufficient to properly exhibit the museum’s collections. The museum, with funding from the regional government, went on to purchase neighboring buildings to expand the existing museum. Among the buildings acquired was an urban palace located on Duque de San German Street, permitting the museum to expand rearwards towards and expanding considerably (almost doubling) the space of the museum. This building is now home to the current entrance to the museum and, given its architectural particularity, gives the museum a truly unique identity.
From the 58 original works the museum began with, there are now over 1200 pieces between paintings and sculptures that belong to the museum and represent over 200 artists. Although there are some works of art representative of the period prior to the 19th century, they comprise only a small part of the museum’s holdings which is primarily focused on contemporary works. Of the examples prior to the 19th century there are works by Morales, Zubaran, Luis de Morales, a painting considered to be from Caravaggio and pieces recovered from the now disappeared retable from the church of Casas de Don Pedro.
The majority of works in the museum’s collection, and it artistic strength, lies in art from the 19th and 20th centuries. You will find works from artists such as Nicolas Megia, Felipe Checa or Torre Isunza. The portrayal of daily life in Extremadura is represented by the costumbrismo of Eugenio Hermonso and Adelardo Covarsi.
Other painters from the 20th century you will find here are: Perez Jimenez, Carrasco Garrorena, Caldera and Timoteo Perez. Many of these artists share a similar style of painting which focuses on expansive landscapes and warm colors that show a strong influence of the impressionism exhibited by Timoteo Perez and Antonio Juez.
Of course, a provincial museum must also be a showcase for local artists and this museum offers an excellent offering of local and regional artists like: Godofredo Ortega Muñoz, Juan Barjola, Eduardo Naranjo, Juan Jose Narbon, Bonifacio Lazaro and Fernandez Megias.
The Museum along with the provincial government is committed to the continued growth of the museum and its collections. Along with its work in acquiring new pieces it is also active in the restoration and conservation of the historic buildings that it occupies producing a museum with an excellent artistic and architectural patrimony.