On exhibition in the Reading Room are a variety of works from the Hispanic Society’s collections. The most exceptional, which dates from the Age of Exploration, is the Map of the World (1526), an enormous portolan chart made in Seville by the chief pilot and cartographer of the House of Trade, Juan Vespucci, nephew of Amerigo Vespucci.
The Reading Room features works by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, including his unfinished painting of The Meeting of the Patronato of the Casa-Museo del Greco, Toledo (ca. 1910-1920), which portrays – among others – Archer Milton Huntington; Alfonso XIII, king of Spain; Benigno de la Vega-Inclán y Flaquer, Marquis of Vega-Inclán; and Joaquín Sorolla. Also exhibited in the Reading Room are portraits by Sorolla of leading writers, artists, and intellectuals of his day associated with the generations of 1898 and 1927, including Emilia Pardo Bazán, Benito Pérez Galdós, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Antonio Machado y Ruiz, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, and José Ortega y Gasset.
Also prominently on display are works by Sorolla’s friend and Valencian compatriot, the sculptor Mariano Benlliure y Gil, that include bronze portrait busts of Dr. Gregorio Marañón, Benigno de la Vega-Inclán y Flaquer, Marquis of Vega-Inclán, Álvaro de Figueroa y Torres-Sotomayor, Count of Romanones, and a study in bronze of the head of Francisco de Goya y Lucientes.