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Casa del Sol and Church of San Benito

Designed by Sancho Díaz de Leguizamo, La Casa del Sol is a 16th-century palace that became famous in the early 17th because of the influential personality of its new owner, the Conde de Gondomar (known as the 'Spanish Machiavelli'). The count (a scholar and bibliophile who owned one of the most notable libraries of the day) was also King Felipe III’s ambassador to England.

From the 16th century the Church of San Benito el Viejo was integrated into the house, becoming the family chapel. In fact, thanks to documentation that describes it, we know that the crypt was emblematic for its decoration, with the painters Pedro Díez Minaya and his son Diego Valentín Díaz being commissioned by Gondomar.

In the 19th century the building went from being a private residence to play other roles, until it was acquired by the State in 1999 to integrate it into its Museum expansion project. In 2011, the Church of San Benito el Viejo was restored to adapt it to its new role as a museum and to house the collection of copies from Classical Antiquity, made in the 19th and 20th centuries by the best workshops of the day. Painted white, as demanded by purists of the Italian Renaissance, it retains the air of a classic church, fully consistent with the items exhibited in its diaphanous space.

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