The Museum of Jaén consists of two sections, Archaeology and Fine Arts, of which the rich collection of engravings forms part. The Museum currently has 1,691 pieces on exhibition, more than 2,500 pieces deposited in other museums and more than 150,000 pieces in storage.
The collections in the Archaeological Section are notable, both for the quantity of the materials preserved and their quality. The collection consists of various objects which represent a broad chronological spectrum, since pre-historic times to the Hispano-Muslim period. The origin of the materials is extremely varied: pieces from the Museum of Fine Arts; objects from the former Provincial Archaeological Museum; donations; purchases; and, in particular, pieces from the numerous excavations carried out recently, both emergency and systematic.
In recent years, the quantity of materials from the Chalcolithic period has been considerable, due to the large number of pieces from the Archaeological Area of Marroquíes Bajos, in the city of Jaén. The museum also has numerous materials of great quality from the Bronze Culture, such as moulds or crucibles, many from mining areas such as Peñalosa, in Baños de la Encina.
The Iberian culture is the vertebral column of the Museum, conserving an amazing collection of sculptures, ceramics or metals. It is enough just to recall the Cerillo Blanco sculptures in Porcuna; El Pajarillo in Huelva; or the ceramics and other materials of Castellanes de Ceal in Hinojares, and Toya in Peal de Becerro, etc.
The period of Roman control is equally represented in the archaeological collections, with excellent pieces from diverse sites in the province, such as the robed figures from the Magdalena in Jaén; the series of the Hispanic Terra Sigillata from los Villares de Andújar; the bronze balm vessel from Santo Tomé; the Christian Hispano-Roman sarcophagus of Martos, an excellent piece from the 4th century; or the large set of epigraphs, of large toponymic, historical and artistic interest.
Finally, a large number of quality materials from the medieval period have been included over the last few years, with interesting numismatic examples and examples of ceramics or goldsmith?s ware. In addition, deposited in the museum is the Tesoro de Charilla of Alcalá la Real, a noteworthy set of pieces from the Caliphate period.
The objects in the Fine Arts section have come from various origins throughout the years: ancient church properties which were confiscated, museum deposits, for example, from the Prado Museum or the Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Centre; deposits from institutions, such as the Town Council of Jaén or the Provincial Council; donations from individuals; and, of course, purchases made by the administration in charge.
The objects in the painting collection from the 19th and 20th centuries are of high quality, including important works by painters, such as Manuel Domínguez, Vicente Palmaroli, Vicente López, Federico de Madrazo, Francisco Domingo, Eduardo Chicharro, José Nogué, Hidalgo de Caviedes, Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor, Váquez Díaz, Antonio López, Rafael Zabaleta, Cristóbal Ruiz, Manuel Ángeles Ortiz etc. As is only logical, the collection by painters in Jaén from all periods has grown progressively, with works by painters such as José Elbo, Pedro Rodríguez de la Torre or Miguel Viribay.
The collection of engravingsis worth special mention. The museum has more than one thousand prints amongst the old museum objects, such as the Caprichos by Goya; the portrait of Innocent X, by Esteve Botei; the landscapes of Haes or Campuzano; or the famous etching, En la taberna, (In the inn) by Ricardo Baroja. Furthermore, in 1979, the museum purchased a collection of 482 engravings from Dimitri Papageorgiu, including major works by artists such as Vázquez Díaz, Benjamín Palencia, Solana, Pancho Cossío, Cristina Mallo, Gregorio Prieto, Pablo Picasso, Chillida or Guerrero. Various recent contributions have been added to these objects, converting the museum into one of the first and most important contemporary engraving centres in the whole of Andalucía.