My name is Olga Baird and I would like to adopt the Casa Museo de Lope de Vega.
Tell us a bit more about yourself
I am of Russian origin, but for the last 12 years I have lived in Birmingham (UK). I fulfilled several academic and curatorial projects for Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Birmingham Science Museum (Thinktank), and the website Revolutionary Players. At present, I give talks on History of Art for adult learners. While in Russia, I used to work at the National A.S.Pushkin Museum in St Petersburg, one of the largest museums of a poet and literature. That is why I am still particularly interested in commemorative museums of writers, artists and composers.
Tell us a bit more about your adopted museum
The Casa Museo de Lope de Vega is the house where Lope de Vega (1562-1635), the greatest playwright of the Spanish “Golden Age”, lived for 25 years. Situated in the historic centre of Madrid (Address: Calle Cervantes 11), it presents the personality, life and legacy of the It is open all year round, Tuesday to Friday 9:30am to 1:30pm and Saturday – 10am to 1:30pm, and closed in August and on public holidays. The entrance is free.
Why have you chosen to adopt this museum?
The plays of Lope de Vega were beautifully translated into Russian, they are often on the stage, and there were several well-known and much loved films done in Russia in the last 30 years, particularly “The Dog in the Manger”. That is why I wanted to see the playwright at home – and I was not disappointed! The display is perfect from a professional point of view: the treasures – de Vega’s memorabilia – are carefully and respectfully shown among the original typical artefacts
of the era. There are no replicas and reproductions, thus you can be sure that what you see is historically correct. The layout of the rooms reveals the writer’s way of life, both private and public. The scale of his literary work is conveyed clearly and meaningfully. From my own experience at a museum of a poet, I do know how difficult it is to present poetic word in a museum and to show a creative side of a personality. They did it wonderfully. I visited this museum twice, and I shall come again when next time in Madrid.
Why would you recommend people visit?
I do not share the idea that a visit to a museum must be “fun”. I rather expect to get a joy and pleasure from experiencing strong emotional, intellectual, artistic, etc. impressions in a museum environment (which is a much more complex thing than “having fun”). I would recommend this house, because I found there this joy and pleasure. There you can meet the soul of its owner, get acquainted with him, be impressed by his intellectual abilities, learn about life in 17th century Madrid. You might even be stimulated to (re)read his plays and see them on the stage. I was. This is a small museum, but it has such a quality, that it deserves to be known much better. I even dare to say, that colleagues from many other much wider known European museums of poets and literature can learn good lessons from this modest Casa Museo de Lope de Vega.
How would you sum up your museum in three words?
It is wonderful.
(Image source: (c) 2008 Laura Padgett on Flickr via Creative Commons)