To define any type of art, one must first ascertain exactly what it is that one is considering, whether it be art in the literal form of painting and sculpture, or instead the less traditionally considered forms of dance and film. As regards Spain, it is clear that traditional forms are wide and varied, coming from many important sources, with influential artists such as Salvador Dalí, Francisco Goya and Diego Velazquez all originating from this southern European country. Not only this, but the Iberian sphere can also be considered as regards those artists who, although not Spanish by birth, chose to settle here, and were greatly influenced by the Spanish way of life, El Greco being an important example of this.
Picasso, for many, is considered the most famous Spanish artist, as his work is quite clearly famed throughout the world. Examples such as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Guernica are unforgettable and have been reproduced to such an extent that one cannot fail to recognise them, even if lacking an artistic background. His works range from those demonstrating his experimental and primary blue stage, to the cubism and surrealism elements of his work, making for a wide and interesting range, from a man only born in the late 19th century in Malaga.
Dalí also marks high up as regards an important artist of recent centuries, and is known worldwide for his more unusual displays. Ironically furthermore, it was often his behaviour that attracted more attention than his artwork during his lifetime, in particular his trademark was in fact an exaggerated moustache influenced by Velazquez. His work is now exhibited in many key cities around the world, including Paris and New York, thus showing the vast scope of his influence as regards the surrealist world. Interestingly, Dalí was also known for his mix of traditional and modern techniques, as well as repeated symbols of the clock and elephant, making his work an eclectic mix.
In modern day Spain, art galleries are an integral part of life as well as the tourist trade, made clear by the fact that they can be found almost everywhere. Madrid boasts several, and for many the most important is that of El Prado which opened in the early 19th century. Originally commissioned by Ferdinand VII at the request of his wife, the building was constructed to house the national history cabinet, and now this impressive example of architecture is renowned all over the world for the variety and the importance of the works showcased here, including the series of black paintings by Goya, which attract thousands of visitors every year.
Furthermore in the ‘Golden Triangle of Art’, one can find the national centre of modern art, the Museo Reina Sofia. This former hospital building now houses art from a wide range of artists, the majority being Spanish, and in particular is well known for the large number of works by Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso.
The third most important gallery that one can encounter in Madrid is the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the final corner on the renowned triangle of art, and for many, this is considered the ‘filler-in’ as it completes the areas of art that the other two galleries lack. The collection began in the early 20th century as a selection of private works belonging to Heinrich, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Káson, and culminated in the opening of a museum in 1992 following the influence of his wife, and in 1993 the collection was bought outright by the Spanish government.
- El arte - art
- Galería de arte – art gallery
- Edificio - building
- Cuadro/pintura – painting
- el gobierno español – spanish government
- ejemplo - example
- escultura - sculpture
- colección de arte – art collection
- cumplir - complete
- artista - artist