This museum is housed in two different buildings, one a former Franciscan convent, the other a contemporary structure. It has three sections, two devoted to archaeology and fine arts, plus an ethnological collection. Among the ancient relics, the most intriguing collection is a series of two 5th-century-B.C. Phoenician sarcophagi carved into human likenesses. Depicting both a man and a woman, these tombs were copied by Greek artists after Egyptian models. There is also an intriguing collection of rare Phoenician jewelry and (mostly) headless Roman statues. The Fine Arts Department is rich in 17th-century Spanish painting, and is known especially for its works by Zurbarán. Dating from the peak of his mastery between 1630 and 1640, these 21 magnificent paintings of angels, saints, and monks were brought here from a Carthusian monastery in Jerez de la Frontera and are today the pride of Cádiz. Zurbarán was at his best when painting his Quartet of Evangelists. Murillo and Ribera are among the other old Spanish masters represented. In the ethnological section, the folklore of the province lives again in the Tía Norica puppet theater, with its props and characters that have delighted young and old for years.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Recommended 2010