Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
History and museums
The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum (Spanish: Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Basque: Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa) is an art museum located in the city of Bilbao, Spain. The building of the museum is located entirely inside the city's Doña Casilda Iturrizar park.
It is the second largest and most visited museum in the Basque Country, after the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum and one of the richest Spanish museums outside Madrid. It houses a valuable and quite comprehensive collection of Basque, Spanish and European art from the Middle Ages to contemporary, including paintings by old masters like El Greco, Cranach, Murillo, Goya, Van Dyck, Ruisdael and Bellotto, together with 19th century and modern: Sorolla, Mary Cassatt, Gauguin, Henri Le Sidaner, James Ensor, Peter Blake and Francis Bacon.
The collection of the present Bilbao Fine Arts Museum originated with the merger of the collections from the first Museo de Bellas Artes, inaugurated in 1914, and the Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art) in 1924. Contributions from local institutions, from private individuals and the museum's own acquisitions helped to shape the essential profile of the collection and oriented its subsequent growth.
Notable for the lengthy period it covers (from the 12th century to the present day) and the extraordinary variety of art works acquired since its inception, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum collection currently boasts more than six thousand works including paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and objects from the decorative arts.