Category Archives: Art & Culture

Prado Museum displays restored El Greco paintings

saint_peterUntil the 19th September the Prado Museum will display 3 restored El Greco paintings. The works include The Immaculate Conception (the Oballe Conception); Saint Peter and Saint Ildefonso (which belong to the Monastery of El Escorial).

Here is an excerpt from the Prado Museum:
“Shown together as a temporary exhibition, the three works are: The Immaculate Conception (the Oballe Conception), one of El Greco’s masterpieces and one of his most beautiful and lyrical representations of the Virgin, loaned by the parish church of San Nicolás de Bari in Toledo; Saint Peter; and Saint Ildefonso, two important paintings from the end of the artist’s career, now the property of Patrimonio Nacional. The painting of the Virgin, executed by El Greco between 1607 and 1613, was executed for the Oballe Chapel in the church of San Vicente in Toledo, founded by Doña Isabel Oballe, hence its name and the popular title of the painting. The painting is shown for the first time in Spain following its restoration at the Museo del Prado.”

The Prado musuem has dedicated part of their website to El Greco y La Capilla de Oballe where you can find some intersting facts about the painting and its restoration.

Related Article
The Prado Museum

Toledo – Don Quijote, El Greco, Mosques and Synagogues

Toledo is one of the jewels of Central Spain. It belongs to the province of Toledo and is the capital of the autonomous region of Castilla la Mancha. The city, located 70 km south of Madrid, is perched on a hill with the river Tajo (Tagus) at it feet. Toledo was decreed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 much of it due to the fact that it is known as the “city of the three cultures”, because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together there for centuries. Even today you can find its rich cultural heritage in its churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues.

Here is a brief histroy from “The city of Toledo has its origins in Toletum, the name the Romans gave to this settlement on the banks of the River Tagus after its conquest in 190 BC. The city maintained its importance for centuries and, in the Visigothic era, became the capital of Hispania (6th C.). The arrival of the Arabs in the 8th century, together with the presence of Christians and Jews, made Toledo the “city of the three cultures”. This was one of the Toledo’s most splendid periods when, among other important events, the Toledo School of Translators was founded. Later, when Carlos V came to the throne in 1519, the city became an imperial capital.”

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Veranos de la Villa – Madrid Summer Festival


For 2006 click here: Veranos de la Villa 2006

During the months of July and August, the streets, gardens, theatres and other public places of Madrid see a number of activities organised by the Madrid Council for Art and called Veranos de la Villa. The city plays host to dance, music, theatrical events and zarzuela throughout this period. You can catch Flamenco Nights in the Sabatini Gardens (next to the Royal Palace); Spirit of the Dance by the Arabic Wall; Bizet’s Carmen, Madame Butterfly and Steve Winwood in Conde Duque and a variety of Zarzuelas, too.

Details of the events, times and prices can be found on the Veranos de la Villa website or you can download the Veranos de la Villa press release.  In the ‘Useful Information‘ section of the site, you will find the Madrid locations where these events take place.

Related Links
Veranos de la Villa 2006

Pablo Picasso Ceramics exhibition


“Pablo Picasso: Cerámicas” is an exhibition which will display Picasso’s work with ceramics betweeen the periods 1947 and 1969. The exhibition can be found in the Sala Goya of the Círculo de Bellas Artes and runs until the 12th September. Picasso’s ceramics collection includes plates, jugs and bowls depicting bullfighting and mythological scenes in addition to images of birds and women. The objects come from the following collections: Colección Serra and Es Baluard Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Palma de Mallorca.

Opening times
Tues – Fri: 10– 2 and 5 – 9,
Sat: 11 -2 and 5 – 9
Sun: 11 – 2

Círculo de Bellas Artes
Alcalá, 42

Banco de España or Sevilla

Guided Tours of Madrid


As we are now into Summer, the City Council of Madrid in collaboration with the Fundación Caja Madrid, are putting on a series of guided tours. These guided tours of Madrid are conducted by professional guides with the aim of giving people the opportunity to discover more of the city. Tickets cost around 3-4 Euros and can be bought from the Madrid City Council’s Tourist Board (Patronato de Turismo de Madrid) (c/ Mayor, 69);Departure Point – Municipal de Información Turística (Plaza Mayor, 3. Tel. 915 881 636). A full list of the tours can be found on a pdf entitled:

Madrid Guided Tours

Two of the tours are actually held all year round: City Hall and Madrid: Setting of the Court. Please be aware that some companies in Madrid do charge between extremely high prices for some of their tours. I came across one the other day which was charging around £120 per person for a 4-hour walking tour!! Captain Alatriste is a character created by the author Arturo Pérez-Reverte and the "Duel of verse and swords: another view of the Golden Age" tour offers people the chance to see "dramatizations that aim to recreate scenes from the life of 17th century Madrid."

City Hall
La casa de la villa
Mondays 5 p.m.

Legends of Old Madrid
Leyendas del viejo Madrid
Wednesdays 9.30 p.m.

Duel of verse and swords: another view of the Golden Age
Duelo de versos y espadas:Otra visión del siglo de oro
Thursdays 9 p.m.

Traditional taverns and shops of Madrid
Tabernas y comercios tradicionales de Madrid
Fridays 11 a.m.

New adventures in Captain Alatriste’s Madrid
Nuevas aventuras – En el Madrid del capitán Alatriste
Fridays and Saturdays 9.30 p.m.

Madrid, setting of the Court
Madrid, escenario de la corte
Saturdays 10

Walk through the Madrid of the Bourbons
Paseo por el Madrid de los borbones
Sundays 11.00 a.m.

Related Article
Virtual Tours Around Madrid

Books of interest from Amazon




Lonely Planet Madrid Top 10 Madrid Lonely Planet
Madrid City Map


Please note that the information above has been modified and the links sould take you to the Madrid Tourist Board site ( For some reason the Madrid Council has decided to take this page down – it happens a lot with sites in Madrid!!

Salvador Dalí exhibition comes to the Reina Sofía Museum

Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Salvador Dalí, the Reina Sofia Museum will put on an exhibition of the artist’s work, entitled “Dalí: Cultura de Masas” (culture of the masses), which looks at how the the industrial world influecnced his work. It comprises 400 works of art, from paintings and drawings to documents, advertisements and even films. This exhibition is the first to screen a short film from Disney, entitled “Destiny”, which the studio never released in the cinemas.

The Reina Sofía press release says: “Beginning in twenties Barcelona, with its manifestos against painting and in favour of the new industrial beauty, it continues in Paris with the Surrealists (so interested in the cinema and other aspects of the mechanical and industrial world) and ends in 1940 when Dalí went to the United States -a country where the new visual manifestation flourished as never before.”

Opening times
Mondays to Saturdays: 10.00 a.m – 9 p.m.
Sundays: 10.00 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.
Tuesdays: closed

3.01 euros
Free: Saturdays: 14.30 – 21.00
Sundays: 10.00 – 14.30

Books on Dalí from Amazon



The Shameful life
of Salvador Dalí
Dalí: The Paintings

Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection opens in Madrid

La catedral de los pobres - Joaquim Mir

Today, June 10th, will see the opening of the new Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, which will be opened in a brand new extension to the Thyssen Museum. Two temporary exhibitions will mark the opening of this new annexe: Catalan Painting from Naturalism to Noucentisme and an exhibition of the works of Gerard David. According to the Thyssen museum press release, ‘the 66 works selected for the temporary exhibition offer the public the opportunity to analyse the origins and development of modern Catalan painting, with works dating from the mid-19th to the early 20th century.’

The permanent exhibition of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza includes works by Constable, Van Gogh, Brueghel, Picasso, Canaletto, Gauguin, Monet and Kandinsky, to name but a few. It has taken over two years to complete the building of this new annexe, cost over 38 million Euros and will be on loan for the next 11 years. The new collection will add a further 220 works of art to the Museum and is housed on 2 floors.

Opening Times
Tues to Sun, from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; closed Mon

Permanent Exhibition: 4.8 Euros
Temporary Exhibition: 3.6 Euros
Combined Ticket: 6.6 Euros

See Also
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Madrid Book Fair – Feria del Libro de Madrid

Friday 28th May saw the launch of the 63rd Feria del Libro de Madrid. The book fair is held in the Retiro Park and allows bookshops, publishers and distributors the chance to display their books to the public. The book fair takes place along the main thoroughfare of Retiro – a beautiful setting to browse through the 350+ stalls. The event was opened by King Juan Carlos and features discussions, where distinguished authors (Jorge Semprún, Martin Amis and Graham Swift) will speak and special children’s zones. Whilt there why not try out a ‘Horchata’ in one of the park’s cafes – a refreshing drink made of rice and almonds. The event will close on the 13th June. Remember that most, if not all the stalls, will display Spanish books.

Robert Capa Exhibition – Reina Sofía Museum

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the famous photographer Robert Capa, the Reina Sofía museum is holding an exhibtion of Robert Capa’s photos. Robert Capa is considered to be one of the greatest war reporters of the 20th century and to coincide with this event the Museum is also promoting the launch of the first Spanish biography of Capa, written by Richard Whelan.

Heart of Spain : Robert Capa’s Photographs of the Spanish Civil War
(Note: This is not the book being promoted)

Santa Isabel, 52.
Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m – 9 p.m
Sunday: 10 a.m – 2.30 p.m.
Tuesday: Closed

International Museum Day


The 18th May is International Museum Day and across the capital the various museums will be putting on a variety of events. Many of the museums will be putting on free events, from the Reina Sofía and the Museum of América to the Templo de Debod and the San Isidro museum. From the 18th to the 23rd May (12 p.m – 5 p.m.) visitors to the Prado Museum will be able to learn more about its history and origins from a guide. The Ministry of Culture has a full list of museums participating, both inside and outside Madrid, just click on museos estatales.

San Isidro Festival 2004 in Madrid


On the 15th May, Madrid celebrates its saint’s day, San Isidro, and throughout this week the city has laid on a number of concerts, theatre events, bullfights and dance shows; even Bonnie Tyler is singing for free in the Plaza Mayor! Many of the events will take place in the open air and around the Plaza Mayor, Retiro Plaza Colón, Plaza de Oriente and the university to name but a few. Many of the events held in theatres and concert venues are free and simply require that people turn up at the doors to get their tickets.

The Feria de San Isidro is probably most closely associated with one of the most important bulfighting dates of the year and though it may be might impossible to get tickets to go to the Plaza de Ventas, you should still be able to see the bullfights televised across the city. One of the top bullfighters, "El Juli", will feature over this period.

This is a flavour of what wil be going on:
Concerts every night in the Plaza Mayor
Children’s entertainment in the Retiro Park
Zarzuela in the Auditorio Conde Duque
Procession of old vehicles down the Paseo de la Castellana
Religious Processions
International Festival of Documentaries

More details of San Isidro 2006 can be found on San Isidro Festival 2006 page on this site.

World Book Day – April 23rd

La pluma es la lengua del alma – The pen is the language of the soul (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)

Today, April 23rd, across Madrid book stalls will appear on many, many streets and events will be held across Spain to celebrate the Día del Libro or World Book Day. Books can be bought for very cheap prices and you often find that even the book shops will put stalls outside their shops. April 23rd is also symbolic as the day that both Shakespeare and Cervantes died. World Book Day was created by UNESCO in 1995.

The Casa del Libro will be offering a free copy of Cervantes’ ‘Don Quijote’ to all those who purchase another book for this day and a 10% discount on all books. Fnac will also be offering a 10% discount on all books.

‘American Odyssey’ Exhibition at Circulo de Bellas Artes


Until the 30th May, the Círculo de Bellas Artes will be holding an exhibition of American ‘post-modern’ art, covering the period 1945 to the 1980’s. Over 60 public and private collections have loaned works of art to the exhibition, from artists such as: Willem de Kooning, Motherwell, Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, and Mark Rothko.

C/ Alcalá, 42
Banco de España and Sevilla
Tuesday to Thursday: 5 – 9
Saturdays: 11 – 2 and 5 – 9
Sundays and Holidays: 11 – 2

Related Web Articles (in Spanish)
La Odisea Americana, 1945-1980
La odisea americana o un paisaje recurrente
La odisea del arte yanqui post-moderno
La odisea del arte americano

Palabras Pintadas – Madrid through the eyes of artists and writers


The exhibition “Palabras Pintadas”(literally, Painted Words), which opens today, provides 70 views of Madrid through the eyes of both painters and authors, from the 16th century right through to today. I simply love the idea: you match 70 works of art – sketches and paintings – to the words of famous authors who have written about Madrid. Artists include: Sánchez Coello, Francisco Bayeu, Houasse, Sorolla and Antonio López García (displayed above); whilst writers include: Francisco Umbral, Gustavo Aldolfo Bécquer and George Borrow.

There are 3 central themes of the exhibition, “The clearness of the sky”, “The spirit of the water” and “The confusion of the ground” which are influenced by the famous Madrid dramatist Tirso de Molina who wrote: “Though there is confusion in Madrid, its sky has much clarity”. One of the authors is Ernest Heminway who wrote, in Death in the Afternoon: “To go to bed at night in Madrid marks you as a little queer. For a long time your friends will be a little uncomfortable about it. Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night.”

This flash movie gives a brief glimpse as to which paintings are on display. The exhibition is organised by the Fundación Caja Madrid and goes on until the 30th June. Entrance is Free.

Opening times
Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Guided tour – Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 12.30 p.m

Metro: Puerta del Sol or Opera
Address: Plaza San Martín, 1.

Fundación Lázaro Galdiano


On Madrid’s c/Serrano you will find the Fundación Lázaro Galdiano, which is set in a beautiful palace and is considered to be one of the Spain’s finest private musuems. The collection, built up by the Spanish entrepreneur José Lázaro Galdiano (1862-1947), comprises over 15,000 works of art and a librabry containing more than 20,000 books. The museum first opened its doors in 1951 and, after closing for refurbishment in 2001, reopened last month. Artists on show include: Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Murillo, Zubaran, Constable, Reynolds and Gainsborough. You will also find a good collection of porcelain, clocks, bronzes and many other art pieces.

Opening Times
10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. (Closed on Tuesdays)
4 Euros; Free on Wednesdays
c/ Serrano 122
c/ Serrano: lines 9, 16, 19 and 51.
c/ María de Molina: line 12.
P° de la Castellana: lines 27, 45, 150.
Rubén Darío (line 5)
Gregorio Marañón (7 and 10)