Rodrigo Amador de los Ríos y Fernández-Villalta

Director from January 1911 to 3 March 1916

Rodrigo Amador de los Ríos

 

Rodrigo Amador de los Ríos y Fernández Villalta (Madrid, 3 March 1849 – Madrid, 13 May 1917) held a PhD in Philosophy & Letters and a degree in Law from the Central University of Madrid. He also studied at the Spanish School of Diplomatics and subsequently joined the Specialist Corps of Archivists, Librarians and Archaeologists. He entered the National Archaeological Museum in 1868 as an assistant and was appointed director in 1911.

During his mandate, the constant need to improve the building led to the creation of the Palace of the National Library and Museums Works Board. One of the spaces in the museum had already been occupied by the National Historical Archive, leaving no room to exhibit the Post-Columbian collections, and now another space was taken by the National Iconography Board.

The acquisition and installation of part of the Marquis of Cerralbo’s bequest led to structural changes in the galleries dedicated to India and Persia, China and Japan and Oceania, while the Far East collections were moved from their original galleries to two former office spaces.

In relation to the influx of new collections during this period, José Ramón Mélida recalls the following in the publication Adquisiciones del Museo Arqueológico Nacional en 1916: “During his directorship, the museum added 2,786 objects to its collections, of which 643 came from bequests and the remainder from purchases made with the institution’s limited funds or directly by the government...” The collection owned by Antonio Vives Escudero and the artefacts from Itálica, Clunia and Tiermes, and from the necropolis of Gormaz, were some of the most important acquisitions at this time, in addition to the purchase of 250 Iberian ex-votos, fibulas, Roman pottery and Arab artefacts from the collector Tomás Román Pulido.

Contact with other institutions continued and the museum participated in events such as the International Exhibition in Rome in 1911, where it presented coins, medals and replicas of artefacts, and the exhibition dedicated to antique Spanish linen and lace organised by the Friends of Art Society in 1915.

After six years at the helm of the National Archaeological Museum, Amador de los Ríos was appointed director of the Museum of Artistic Reproductions, where he remained until his death on 13 May 1917.