Although the collections range from the Early Middle Ages to the 20th century, they do not seek to be an encyclopaedic representation. Two large and very unique groups of works (with over 3,000 pieces each), different in origin, function and nature, comprise the Museums collections.
First of all there is the historical collection that gave rise to the Museum. This collection consists of religious sculptures created during the 15th to the 18th centuries and is remarkable because of its artistic quality and technical originality, because of its emotional poignancy insofar as its sacred images, and, lastly, because of its value as a record of the spiritual, cultural and political life of Modern Age Spain.
The sculptures, made out of carved and polychromed wood, offer a wide repertoire: isolated figures, reliefs, sepulchres, stalls and altarpieces, as well as a Neapolitan nativity scene with over 600 figures and accessories. This part of the collection also includes wood coffered ceilings either originally from the building or acquired as collection pieces.
The leadings artists include great masters active in Castile between the 16th and 18th centuries: Alejo de Vahía, Alonso Berruguete, Felipe Bigarny, Pompeo Leoni, Juan de Juni and Gregorio Fernández. Beginning in 1933, these works were coupled with sculptures from various Spanish schools and studios with pieces by Pedro de Mena, Martinez Montañés, Alonso Cano, Carmona and Salzillo.
The second part of the collection was added to the Museum recently, in 2011, after the Museum was chosen to house the collection from the National Museum of Artistic Reproductions, founded in 1877. It is a collection that, because of its quality, abundance and age, is rated as one of the best in Europe.
In various media, particularly plasters and bronze, but also lithographs, clay painting, electroplating and photography, it provides an overview of the changes in European tastes, in ideals in museum tradition and in production techniques used for thousands of years, but extended to the modern age, that of the great inventions in technical reproductibility.
It contains replicas of sculptures and luxury arts from great Oriental civilisations, from classical Antiquity, and from Spanish and European medieval, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical statuary, as well as architecture from various periods.
Although the collection centres on sculpture, there are also a considerable number of paintings, with works from masters like Pedro Berruguete, Jorge Inglés, Pedro Machuca, Antonio Moro, Rubens, Zurbarán, Ribalta and Luis Meléndez, thus affording a better understanding of Spanish artistic culture.
There are also interesting examples of applied arts and furniture typical of a period in which there were no boundaries between fine arts and applied arts.