The Víctor Balaguer Museum and Library was opened in 1884. Not only is the founder's collection exhibited but also a significant set of baroque paintings by El Greco, Ribera and Rubens on permanent loan from the Prado Museum. This is one of the Prado’s historical loans, among the oldest known, thanks to which Balaguer managed to endow his particular cultural project with the highest possible degree of quality.
The Spanish and Andalusian and, to a lesser extent, the Flemish and Italian schools are represented in the baroque collection on exhibition. The works are divided into four main thematic sections: religious painting, portraits of dignitaries, myths and allegories, and nature (which also includes still lifes). Visitors are therefore afforded a fairly comprehensive overview of the art of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Baroque was the era of sentiment. Very dynamic attitudes, highly expressive faces and gestures and complex compositions with volume, depth and contrasts of light and shadow characterise this period. Grandiose compositions with sumptuously dressed characters in religious or mythological allegories and great battle or court scenes most epitomise baroque art.