Spain has produced some fantastic art over the years; from paintings to sculptures, from photography to film, and from amazing architecture to the performed arts, Spain offers the lot. There are many places across the country where you can see Spanish art, and art has played such a huge role in the country’s history and culture.
Due to its location in Europe, the art scene in Spain has had many influences throughout the course of time, creating a really mixed, vibrant, and interesting situation. Some major influences have come from the Moors, Italians, French, and Italians, and in turn, Spanish artists have helped to shape and influence different art movements across the world.
The History of Art in Spain
Historically, the first art work in Spain can be traced back to the Superior Palaeolithic times, with some splendid cave paintings remaining today. Evidence is visible from the ancient Phoenicians and Greeks, as well as the later Romans. Christian art was prominent during the 3rd and 4th centuries, and this was then followed by Visigoth art and Hispanic-Muslim art. Romanesque art came into its own during the 11th century, and then Gothic art became popular from the 13th century. A mixture of Christian and Muslim styles was also created in Spain during this time. It is known as Mudejar. The Baroque period was instrumental during the 17th century, followed by Neoclassicism. The 20th century produced some of Spain’s most well-known artists from modern times, with abstract art leading in the field.
Some famous names from the fairly recent world of Spanish art include Goya, Picasso, Gaudi, Velazquez, Dali, Miro, Chillida, and Moneo.
If you are interested in art, you should definitely check out some of the incredible art galleries and art museums across the country, as well as the brilliant architecture in most major towns and cities. Many of the galleries and museums also display art from all around the world.
A walk around Barcelona will reveal some of the country’s finest architectural masterpieces, with many examples by the famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. Interesting works include the world-famous Sagrada Familia, the lovely Guell Park, the interesting Casa Batlo, the simple Colonia Guell, and the striking Casa Mila.
El Prado, Madrid
A spectacular collection of art awaits visitors to El Prado, one of the best art museums in the whole of Spain. It has an extensive collection of works by the Old Masters, such as Goya, Raphael, Rembrant, Titian, Durer, Rubens, and Bosch. As well as an incredible selection of paintings you can also see a large assortment of fine sculptures from all over Europe. There are over 8,500 paintings in the museum, and it is impossible to see everything in just one day. Art lovers can spend several days visiting the museum and poring over the many delights.
The Guggenheim, Bilbao
The museum building is in itself a work of art, and that’s before you even step inside and see the many treasures within. The giant structure is made from glass, limestone, and titanium, with lots of different angles and designs. There is a huge bush puppy outside the museum, and inside you will certainly be amazed by the designs and collections. There are sculptures and paintings, and it is one of the best places in the country for people who have an interest in modern art.
Museo de Bellas Artes, Sevilla
One of the most important and prestigious art museums in Spain, it contains a large collection of previously confiscated religious art taken from churches, monasteries, and convents. There are other collections too, and the pieces date from the medieval period right up to the current time. There are some works by some of Spain’s great master artists in the museum.
The Picasso Museum, Barcelona
Containing a staggering number of early works by the famous painter, Pablo Picasso, this is a museum well worth visiting if art is your passion. There is another Picasso Museum in Malaga, where you can see even more of the legendary artist’s works.
Reina Sofia, Madrid
This is the National Art Museum, and it was founded in the early 1920s by the ruling Monarch at that time. There are many excellent paintings within the museum’s walls, as well as thousands of interesting books. The main focus is on contemporary art.
Other terrific art galleries and museums around Spain include the Museo Carmen Thyssen in Malaga, Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Valencia’s Museo de Bellas Artes, and Can Framis Museum and the Catalan National Art Museum, both of which are in Barcelona.