When he was 19 years old, Eulalio Ferrer was forced to flee his home by the Spanish Civil War. Taking the few possessions they could carry, he and his family went to France. While in a French refugee camp, Ferrer exchanged a pack of cigarettes for a pocket-sized edition of Don Quixote. This simple gesture had a tremendous impact on Ferrer, who obsessively read and reread the book, finding solace in the misadventures of the eponymous Spanish hero.
After relocating to Mexico and achieving success as an entrepreneur, Ferrer did not forget about the quixotic knight-errant, amassing a large collection of art relating to Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza.
In 1987, Ferrer donated his collection to the city of Guanajuato. It became the Don Quixote Iconographic Museum, the largest collection of art relating to Don Quixote in the world. Thanks to this donation, and the yearly Festival Cervantino, Guanajuato has become known as the Cervantes capital of the Americas.
In addition to Ferrer’s original pocket copy of Don Quixote, the museum houses roughly 1,000 pieces in the form of sculptures, acrylic paintings, murals, ceramics, and more. Some of the artists represented include Pedro Coronel, José Luis Cuevas, Rufino Tamayo, and countless others. Of particular note is the Capilla Cervantina, a room-wide mural by Gabriel Flores.
Know Before You Go
The general entrance fee is MX$30, MX$15 for students. The museum is free on Tuesdays. https://festivalcervantino.gob.mx/.