The Museum of Santa Cruz owes its name to the building it occupies, the old hospital of Santa Cruz which was built by Cardinal Mendoza at the beginning of the 16th century. Considered to be one of the earliest architectural gems of the Spanish Renaissance, it was designed by figures such as Anton and Enrique Egas and Alonso de Covarrubias, among others. It was the last of these who built the monumental staircase leading to the upper gallery of the cloister.The beginnings of this museum date back to the middle of the 19th century when the State took its first steps in the conservation of Cultural Heritage. The current museum was created in 1961 and since 1985 the Museum of Santa Cruz has been managed by the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha.
The visit begins on the lower floor. The Noble Cloister houses a series of pieces from the Neolithic to the Renaissance all linked to funerals. Here you can also see an excellent Roman mosaic with a maritime them e which was taken from a Roman villa. The upper floor houses t he main art objects of the permanent collection of the Museum. The itinerary covers the four wings of the Greek cross floorplan. The pieces are presented in chronological order from Prehistory to the 20th century: lithic instruments, Bronze age ceramics, Iberian offerings, Roman statues, Islamic texts, mediaeval furniture and other masterful works from the Spanish and European Renaissance, including masterpieces by Domenikos Theotocopuli, El Greco, depicting the town of Toledo in the background.The exhibition closes with baroque artists such as Luca Giordano and Jose de Ribera and contemporary figures such as Vicente Cutanda and Alberto Sanchez, a prominent sculptor from the avant-garde of the 20th century.To end with the visit, the museum offers the visitor the Vicente Carranzas collection of ceramics, one of the finest collections of Spanish ceramic works.