Whenever we speak of Spain, we inadvertently draw into perspective its cultural flamboyance and significance. What do we mean by this? Well, Spain has some of the most fleshed-out and marvellous cultural establishments in the world and we are going to recommend four of them to you. Let’s see how many of them you’ve already known!
1. Museo del Prado:
Well, if one wants to discover the grandeur of a country, one might as well start with its capital. Madrid’s Museo del Prado is the most important Spanish art museum and it houses some of the best works pertaining to European artists. Established in 1819, the museum is located at the Paseo del Prado (one of the main boulevards of the capital). Based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, the current collection features works that date from the 12th century to the 20th. This enormous time-span is systematically handled via dedicated sections and, thus, the efficiency of the establishment is directly reflected by its Spanish Property of Cultural Interest status (designated in 1962). Harbouring over 8,200 drawings, 7,600 paintings, 4,800 prints, 1,000 sculptures, and many other works, the museum boasts with more than 2.5 million visitors each year. Yet being one of the largest museums in Spain is not enough for this juggernaut for it plans on expanding until 2019 at least by 16%. Francisco de Goya is arguably the most represented artist there but works from others like Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens and Hieronymus Bosch are also highlighted. You can reach Madrid’s finest via the Banco de España Underground Station and the Atocha Main Line Station also vie for the limelight (wink).
2. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao:
Next up, we are visiting the renowned Guggenheim Museum Bilbao located in the city of Bilbao, Basque Country. Established in 1997 by the former King Juan Carlos I of Spain, the museum was designed and built by the Canadian-American master architect, Frank Gehry (in fact, the building itself is considered one of the most exquisite modern architectural masterpieces of the world). Situated next to the Nervion River, it is affiliated with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Representing both Spanish and international artists, the museum strives to exhibit works that pertain to the modern era (post-20th-century) – from Cubism to Avant-garde, you can find anything there. Notable artists represented include: Francesco Clemente, Anselm Kiefer, Jenny Holzer and Richard Serra. The museum has over 1.1 million visitors each year and we can only recommend that you become one of them. Oh, and do not forget to bask in the brilliance of the Bilbao Puppy by Jeff Koons (a world-famous masterpiece).
3. Museum of Fine Arts of Seville:
Seville is known to be one of those cities that cannot refrain from boasting with spectacular cultural establishments. Its Museum of Fine Arts encompasses a rather large time-span (from medieval times all the way to the 20th century) and even its façade strikes a visitor as majestic. What’s interesting about it is that it harbours a collection that pertains to the 17th-century Golden Age of Sevillian painting era (example artists would be Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Francisco de Zurbarán, Francisco Herrera the Younger and Juan de Valdés Leal). If you take a look at the building and conclude that it must have been a convent sometime, then you are correct for after having been built in 1594, it became the monastery of the Order of the Merced Calzada de la Asunción (established by the renowned St. Peter Nolasco during the reign of King Ferdinand III of Castile). Other notable artists represented, among many others, would be: Francisco Pacheco, Andrea Vaccaro, Emilio Sánchez-Perrier, Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta, José Moreno Carbonero, José Jiménez Aranda, Antonio María Esquivel, and even Francisco Antolínez.
4. Museu de Belles Arts de València:
If you are up for another adventure, make sure you hop over to the Museu de Belles Arts de València (Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia). Founded in 1913, it is but a modest establishment boasting with no more than 2,000 works dating mostly from the 14th to the 17th centuries. Harboured by the St. Pius V Palace (built in the 17th-18th centuries), the museum even has a few sections dedicated to contemporary art, sculpture and archaeological findings. Overall, it is a varied and awe-inspiring experience and that is why it has made it to our list. Important works housed include: a “Self-portrait” of Diego Velázquez, a “St. John the Baptist” by El Greco, and even a “Madonna with Writing Child and Bishop” by Italian Renaissance grandmaster, Pinturicchio. Definitely a must-see!
Did you enjoy our list?
How many of the aforementioned establishments have you visited and how many are on your target list? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it. Oh, and do not forget about checking back from time to time for we have interesting updates popping up continuously. Safe travels!