Antonio García Gutiérrez

Director from 10 May 1872 to 4 January 1884

 

Antonio Gargía Gutierrez

García Gutiérrez (Chiclana, Cádiz, 5 July 1813 – Madrid, 26 August 1884), author of El Trovador (The Troubadour), was one of the most famous dramatists of his day. His appointment as director of the National Archaeological Museum, by virtue of the Royal Decree of 10 May 1872, marked the beginning of what has come to be known as the museum’s “consolidation period”, culminating in 1892.

This period was marked by the acquisition of major private collections, such as that of the Marquis of Salamanca, primarily consisting of classical antiquities purchased in Italy, and the Egyptian collection of Víctor Abargues. Another acquisition at this time came from Cerro de los Santos (Albacete), an archaeological site noted for its sculptures, whose investigation prompted the emergence of a new field of study: the Iberian world. This new culture was unveiled to the public at the Vienna International Exhibition of 1873, where the museum presented several plaster casts of the sculptures.

García Gutiérrez was in favour of publishing guides to the museum’s collections, the first of which appeared in 1876. Entitled Noticia Histórico-Descriptiva del Museo Arqueológico Nacional, it not only described the history of the institution, never previously published, but also included the results of the classification process conducted by Rada y Delgado. The idea was that this first guide would be followed by the publication of detailed catalogues for each of the museum sections, but the only one that actually materialised was the Catálogo del Museo Arqueológico Nacional. Sección Primera. Tomo I, in 1883, dedicated to the Prehistory and Classical Antiquity collections. The eleven-volume Museo Español de Antigüedades was also published at this time (1872-1880).

During his final years at the museum García Gutiérrez was frequently absent due to ill health and affairs were left in the hands of Francisco Bermúdez de Sotomayor, who became the next director by virtue of the Royal Decree of 4 January 1884, when García Gutiérrez took up the post of head of the Specialist Corps of Archivists, Librarians and Antiquarians.