The Museum of Santa Cruz

The Museum of Santa Cruz

It is this old hospital a foundation of the famous cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza, who wanted to leave as a legacy an institution designed to host orphaned children and to care for the sick. In 1495, before the beginning of the works, the prelate had already died, but the commitment of his executor, Queen Isabel the Catholic, made the desire of his confessor finally executed. The first problem arose at the time of locating the building, since Mendoza had arranged with the Cabildo Catedralicio its location in the houses of the Dean and of the Cabildo itself located next to the cathedral. For one reason or another this could not be, reason why thanks to the intervention of the queen the current place was settled, then occupied by the monastery of San Pedro de las Dueñas.

In 1504 the first stone was placed, being the first directors of the work the brothers Enrique and Antón Egas. In 1517 takes the relay Alonso de Covarrubias, who is owed the superb Plateresque portal, in addition to the cloister and its beautiful staircase. The works were finalized in 1525, although already since 1514 the hospital had been providing some service. The institution depended on the Cabildo, and in it they welcomed the children who for lack of resources were deposited by their mothers in a pad destined for such purpose next to the Clock Gate, in the Cathedral.

After the confiscation, the building was transferred to the Infantry Academy, which used it for military purposes until the end of the 19th century. In 1902 it happens to be property of the Provincial Deputation, being used as Provincial Museum and Public Library. In 1914 the Archaeological Museum is installed.

With the Civil War of 1936 the building underwent serious damages by its proximity to the Alcázar, main objective of the bombings. It was not rebuilt until 1958, when an important exhibition was held on the Emperor Charles V. Seeing the excellent result of this exhibition, a Museum of Fine Arts was chosen, taking advantage of the remaining funds of the previous ones. In addition they brought funds of special importance, as are the tapestries of the Cathedral and valuable works of El Greco.

The availability of exhibitions in its rooms varies according to the need of the moment, although the collections of the Archaeological Museum and the paintings of El Greco are always displayed to the public.

Source: Jesús-José Cerdeño Vozmediano