Category Archives: Art & Culture

Madrid Flickr Badge

I will shortly be adding a Flickr Badge to the sidebar navigation of this site so that people will be able to view a wide selection of regularly updated, Madrid-related photographs. I have actually selected all Flickr photos that are tagged with the word: Madrid. If you’re planning a trip to Madrid, you may if you haven’t already want to set up an account on Flickr.

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Flickr tagged with madrid. Make your own badge here.

Easter Week Madrid 2006

I don’t need to tell you that Easter Week is the most important part of the Christian calendar, or  do I? Well, in Madrid you will find an array of events going on through next week and into the early part of the following. Walking in and out of some churches last week I could see that the statues had been cleaned and the silverware was shining ready for the yearly processions which will fill the centre of the capital next week.

The key days are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. On each of the three days there will be processions through the streets – people will carry statues from the churches usually representing the key passages of Easter and they will be accompanied by bands and the penitent (in robes and hooded). The tone of each day is different, with Friday being the most solemn day. Probably the best place to go to see the procession is in and around Plaza Mayor and c/Mayor.

Over Easter you will also find concerts at the various churches. EsMadrid has some quite comprehensive details on their website.

You may also want to download a more detailed pdf document from the Madrid Municpal Council website.

National Stamp Fair Opens in the Plaza Mayor

Today, Spain´s Minister for Culture opened the Feria Nacional del Sello 2006 in Madrid´s Plaza Mayor. A large marquee has been erected in one area of the square where you can visit commercial stands, those by Correos (Spain´s postal service), the Casa de la Moneda (Royal Mint), some stands by young collectors, amongst others. Entrance to the event is free and it will run until April, 2nd.

Opening Times
10.30 a.m to 2.30 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Exhibition of Fra Angelico at the Thyssen

From the 7th March to the 14th May, the focus of a new exhibition at the Thyssen Museum will be the painter Fra Angelico’s work: the Virgin of the Humility and the Virgin enthroned with the Christ Child. In addition to these masterpieces, the exhibition also provides the opportunity to see twelve further panel
paintings normally on display in the Thyssen Museum’s galleries or in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, in Barcelona.

Aside from Fra Angelico’s The Madonna of Humility, the exhibition includes a further twelve Italian panel paintings of the Trecento and Quattrocento by leading artists from the most important artistic centres.

Opening Times
Tuesday-Sunday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Entry Charge

Otto Dix Exhibition at the Fundación Juan March

AutorretratocaballgFrom the 10th February to the 14th May, 2006 the Fundación Juan March will put on an exhibtion dedicated to the German painter Otto Dix. The Foundation says that it will be the first major exhibition devoted to the artist in Spain. Otto Dix lived throughout some of the major events of the last century: the Weimar Republic, the rise of the Nazis and two World Wars – he fought and was seriously wounded in the first world war. According to Wikipedia:

When the Nazis came to power in Germany, they regarded Dix as a degenerate artist and had him sacked from his post as an art teacher at the Dresden Academy. He later moved to Lake Constance. Dix’s paintings The Trench and War cripples were exhibited in the Nazi exhibition of degenerate art, Entartete Kunst. They were later burned.

The exhibition includes 84 of the artist’s works: 35 oils, 27 gouaches and watercolours and 22 drawings, which cover the period 1914 to 1969. On display are his triptych Metropolis of 1927-28,which is considered Dix’s most important work, together with War (1932). The Juan March will also be holding conferences on Degenerate Art: The Repression of Culture During the Third Reich on 28th February and on the 2nd, 7th and 9th March (7.30 p.m.).

Visiting Hours
Monday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday/Holiday: 10 a.m to 2 p.m.

Free Guided Visits
Wednesday: 11.00 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
Friday: 4.30 p.m. – 7.15 p.m.

Christmas Nativity Scenes and Markets in Madrid

This year quite an extensive programme of Christmas activities has been organised by Madrid’s City Council. I will break the information down into various articles over the next couple of days.
Christmas Market in the Plaza Mayor – the main Christmas market in the city and a place where you will find all things related to Christmas, from trees and tinsel to nativity scenes and christmas trees.  It runs up until the 31st December. And don’t forget to look out for the wonderful Christmas lights that adorn the Plaza.

Madrid offers a wonderful selection of ‘Belénes’ or nativity scenes which you will find in museums and churches across the whole city at Christmas time – they really are quite spectacular. Here are a selection of some of the most popular ones:

Municipal Museum
Plaza de la Villa
Created by José Mayo (this will be his third year) it occupies an area of 70 square metres and includes Herod’s Palace and a Hebrew mill.
Open from 7th Dec – 6th Jan: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; 24th and 31st Dec and 1st Jan: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Madrid City Council
Napolitan Nativity Scene
Tues-Fri: 9.30 a.m – 8 p.m
Sat, Sun and 24th and 31st December: 10 a.m – 2 p.m.

Royal Palace
Naptolitan Figures from the 18th Century
13th Dec – 8th Jan. Mon-Sat: 9.30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sundays and Fiestas
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Address: c/ Fuencarral, 78

Other highlights include:

Almudena Cathedral
Designed by Father Félix Castedo
25th December – 22nd January
9 a.m. – 10.30 p.m. 
Address: c/ Bailén, 10

Basílica de San Francisco Grande
24th December – 7th January
Mon, 8 – 11 a.m
Tues – Sun 8 a.m. – 12.30 p.m
& 4 – 6.30 p.m.
Plaza de San Francisco

Real Iglesia de San Ginés
Barroque Nativity Scene
17th and 18th Century figures Designed by
Cayetano Ramírez
and Bernardo Toribio
24th Dec – 8th Jan
9 a.m – 1 p.m. and 6 p.m – 9 p.m.

Real Iglesia de San Andrés
Neapolitan Nativity Scene in Ivory from 18th Century
1st Dec – 18th Jan
Address: Plaza de San Andrés, 1

Real Monasterio de la Encarnación 
Nativity Scenes from the 19th century and the Madrid School
13th Dec – 8th Jan
Tues, Wed, Thurs and Sat: 10.30 a.m. – 12.30 a.m & 4 – 5.30 p.m.; Fri: 10.30a.m – 12.30 p.m.; Sun: 11.30 a.m – 1.30 p.m.; Mon closed

History of Photography in Spain at the Círculo de Bellas Artes

Seminaristas_1From the 17th November until the 8th January, the Círculo de Bellas Artes will be holding a fascinating exhibition which charts the history of photography in Spain from 1839 until the 21st Century. It consists of 400 photographs, collected from over 100 national and international archives, which attempt to show the social and technological developments of the country over this period.

The Círculo de Bellas Ares has dedicated 4 rooms to the exhibition, each focusing on different periods: Sala Minerva, from the start of the Carlist wars (19th century); the Sala Goya, from the start of the 20th century up to the beginning of the Civil war; Sala Picasso, from the start of the Dictatorship until Democracy and the Sala Juana Mordó which displays a selection of photos from the earliest cameras to the latest digital cameras – over 30 of these early cameras will be on view.

If you decide to go, can I suggest that you have a cup of coffee in the beautiful Salón La Pecera.

Opening Times

Tues-Sat: 5pm-9pm
Sat and Sun: 11am-2pm
Entry Price
1 Euro

Tamara Rojo in Blancanieves (Snow White)

Tamara_rojoHaving had its world premiere in Bilbao last week, the Ballet "Blancanieves" (Snow White) will première in Madrid’s Teatro Albéniz on the 9th November and will run until the 13th November. The star of the show is Tamara Rojo, the principal dancer of the Royal Ballet Covent Garden. The Ballet is described as the first purely Spanish Ballet – the choreographer and stage manager is Ricardo Cué; the musical score is by Emilio Aragón who directs the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Comunidad de Madrid; the principal dancers are Spanish as are the costume and lighting designers. This is actually quite a rare opportunity to see Tamara Rojo dance in Spain – the last time was 5 years ago.

Dates: 9th – 13th November, 2005
Time: 8.30 p.m. (except Sunday: 7 p.m.)
Tickets: from 20 to 5 Euros – can be bought at the box office or from (902 488 488)

Modern Realism Exhibition

Miro_painting Mimesis: Realismos Modernos (Modern Realism) is an exhibition, jointly arranged between the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Fundación Caja Madrid, which will display the diffusion of realism between the first and second word wars. It charts the development of Realism as something which started out strongly but which finised up weakened by economic, political and social problems.Here is what the press release has to say:

"This period saw a profound re-examination of the ideas and structures that had previously provided the basis of Western society, and Realism came to the fore as one of the main trends in modern art. In clear opposition to the subjective nature of the early 20th century avant-garde movements, Realist artists focused on representing the reality that surrounded them. To do so, they were obliged to develop a style appropriate to the new age and thus contributed to a better understanding of modern man."

The exhibition runs from the 11th October until the 8th January and includes work from André Derain, Otto Dix, Edward Hopper, José Gutiérrez Solana, Joan Miró, Balthus, Julio González and others.

Opening times
Thyssen: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Fundación Caja Madrid: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Entry Cost
Thyssen: 5 Euros (9 Euros includes General Admision)
Fundación Caja Madrid: FREE
Thyssen: Paseo del Prado, 8 (Metro: Banco de España)
Fundación Caja Madrid: Plaza de San Martín, 1 (Metro: Sol)

Related Links
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Fundación Juan March Celebrates 50 Years


The Fundación Juan March will open a new exhibition on Friday which will commemorate its 50 years in existence. The exhibition will bring together the work of some of the principal artists from the last century. It includes 60 works (51 paintings, 6 photographs and 3 sculptures) from artists such as Cezanne, Degas, Gauguin, Giacometti, Hockney, Kandinsky, Matisse, Miró, Monet, Picasso, Pollock and Warhol. Some of the pieces have been shown previously over the course of the last 3 years of holding 150 exhibitions in the centre.

New Reina Sofía Extension Opens


Last week the Queen of Spain, Doña Sofía, opened the new extensions of the Museo Reina Sofía. The project, which was designed by architect Jean Nouvel cost 90 million Euros and has added an extra 55% to the size of the museum. The Museo Reina Sofía forms part of Madrid’s Golden Triangle (the others being the Museo Thysssen and the Prado) and houses some of the most important modernist art in the world – Picasso’s famous painting "Guernica" is permanently exhibited here.

The Reina Sofía Museum now features two buildings: the old Sabatini building and the new Nouvel extension – making it one of the largest modern art museums in the world. Jean Nouvel has created 3 buildings – a temporary exhibition hall, a library, an auditorium and a restaurant – which are all contained under one huge canopy. The library currently has 100,000 books and can house up to 200,000, whilst the auditorium can seat up to 450 people.

The restaurant, called Arola, comes under the direction of Michelin 2-star chef Sergi Arola. Arola, who spent some 6 years at Ferrán Adrià’s restaurant El Bulli (recently nominated #2 restaurant in the world), has split the eating area into 3 sections: a bar, café and restaurant; he would like to make sure that Arola is cheap and chic!

Related Articles
Fast Good a new fast food concept opens in Madrid
The Prado Museum
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Exhibition of Photographs from Madrid’s ‘Mixed Race’


From the 11th July until the 18th September, the Circulo de Bellas Artes will be holding a photographic exhibition featuring images of people from over 150 countries and who currently reside in Madrid’s community. Seven accomplished photographers have taken pictures of people from countries as diverse as Ghana, South Africa, Niger, Croatia, Bulgaria, Brazil and Chile, to name but a few.

According to official statistics, around 14% of Madrid’s population are ‘immigrants’ and the Universo Mestizo (Mixed Race Universe) exhibition offers a unique view on the Madrid that they live in. The photos are accompanied by information on the places where the photos are taken and the country of origin of those within them.

The photograph above is taken from the Metropoli section of El Mundo‘s online newspaper, where you can view a brief selection of photos from the ‘Universo Mestizo’ exhibition.

Opening Times

Tues – Fri: 10 – 2 & 5-9 p.m.
Sat: 11 – 2 & 5-9 p.m.
Sun: 11-2
Price: 1 euro
Metro: Banco de España or Sevilla
Address: c/ Alcalá 42

Madrid’s Cultural Summer Programme

Veranos2Throughout July and right up to August 14th, the Madrid City Council puts on its summer entertainment programme, called Veranos de la Villa, which sees events taking place both indoors and outdoors and cuts across the cultural spectrum. It is a wonderful opportunity to see Spanish culture at its best and the programme includes flamenco, dance, music, zarzuela, theatre and much more. Here are some examples of what’s on offer:

  • Soloists from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden will sing in the Plaza de Oriente (in front  of the Royal Palace).
  • Flamenco dance companies and singers like Compañia Manuela Carrasco, La Tana (Montse Cortés), Belén Maya, Carmen Linares and El Cigala will also play the Sabatini Gardens
  • Richard III will be performed by the Centro Drámatico Galego
  • Miguel Riós, Roberta Flack, Robert Cray and Antonio Vega will play the Patio Central de Conde Duque

This is just a small selection of what’s going on over this time. I would suggest you take a look at the  Veranos de la Villa site – it is in Spanish but you should be able to find your way around. Tip: Actividades means activities/events and Espacios, venues. Many of the events are free, though there is a small charge for indoor venues.

Juan Gris at the Reina Sofia Museum


José Victoriano González-Pérez was born in Madrid in 1887. Better known as Juan Gris he became one of the main practitioners of Cubism, developing his own style of it. Having studied mechanical drawing at the Escuela de Artes y
Manufacturas in Madrid, he moved to Paris in 1906 where he came under the influence of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. According to Wikipedia:

"At first painted in the analytic style of cubism but after 1915, he began his conversion to synthetic cubism of which he
became a steadfast interpreter, with extensive use of papier collé.
Unlike Picasso and Braque whose works were monochomatic, Gris concentrated on painting with bright colors."

The Reina Sofía Museum is putting on a Juan Gris exhibition, which is the culmination of 3 years’ hard work by them, and is said to be one of the finest  ever put together on the artist. The exhibition includes 250 pieces (90 drawings) – quite a few of which have never been seen in Spain before. The exhibition started on 23rd June and will run until 19th September.

Prices: Museum – 3.01 Euros. Free on Saturdays from 2.30 p.m.