Exhibitions In Spain: 2014 Highlights

J.M. Towers

From El Greco to Rafael Moneo and the 300th anniversary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, a selection of the best in Spanish culture and art for 2014.


2014 brings to Spain a variety of noteworthy exhibitions available to the general public, a good excuse to spend a few days in historic Spanish cities and, at the same time, enjoy the highest expressions of culture in the Iberian Peninsula.

The Greek from Toledo.
Santa Cruz Museum, Toledo.
March 14, 2014 – June 14, 2014.

Exhibition Calendar Spain 2014
EL GRECO. The Holy Family with St. Anne. Tavera Hospital, Toledo. (Detail).

Doménikos Theotocópulos, better known as El Greco (Crete, 1541-Toledo, 1614), lived in Toledo half of his life, during the most fruitful period of his artistic career. It may seem strange, perhaps surprising that this Spanish city has never devoted an exhibition to one of its most illustrious citizens. Long overdue, the time has come to pay him the tribute he deserves, and more so because 2014 marks the 400th anniversary of his death. The genius of El Greco was highly appreciated by artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

The exhibition, on display at the Museo de Santa Cruz, expands to different areas of the city to trace the places where the artist worked and lived: the Sacristy of the Toledo Cathedral, the Chapel of San José, the Convent of Santo Domingo the Elder, the Church of Santo Tomé and the Tavera Hospital. These spaces house original paintings by the world-renowned artist, which give the show a unique and unrepeatable character.

The exhibit follows the painter`s oeuvre in the context of his memory and against the backdrop of other artists who worked in Toledo and Madrid for kings Phillip II and Phillip III. This display begins with works created before El Greco came to Spain from Candia, Crete, after his stay in Venice and Rome, focusing on his early training as a master painter in Crete and his progressive appropriation of Western artistic development in the shadow of Titian, Tintoretto, Michelangelo and other Italian masters.

The show places a strong emphasis on his work as a portraitist, which brought him fame and recognition from his patrons, even though it contrasted with the fashionable portraits in the Spain of Philip II. The artist will also be presented as a painter of beautiful devotional images. The Greek from Toledo is an unparalleled opportunity to visit the beautiful historic city of Toledo.

Tribute to Rafael Moneo.
Barrie Foundation, La Coruña.
Until March 30, 2014.

Exhibition Calendar Spain 2014
Exhibition view.

The Barrie Foundation launches its new cultural and educational project with the first retrospective of the work of architect Rafael Moneo. The exhibition Rafael Moneo, A Theoretical Reflection, Archival Materials (1961-2013), curated by Francisco Gonzalez de Canales, of London’s Architectural Association, was organized by the Barrie Foundation in collaboration with the Rafael Moneo studio.

Mies Van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, David Chipperfield, Gonçalo Byrne, and now Rafael Moneo are some of the architects who have been praised by the Foundation. The organization continues to pay homage to those artists who have conceived architecture as the link between city dwellers and experimentation in the places they inhabit.

The exhibit will be on view in La Coruña until March 30, 2014. It is organized in five biographical sections that elucidate the entire career of the famous architect. It features 46 projects using 18 models, including the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, Spain, one of his most emblematic works, as well as 142 photographs and 98 original drawings.

The selection of the pieces for this exhibit puts special emphasis on the importance of drawing as a fundamental tool for the architect to develop his work and as a means to define his point of view. Scale models and photographs alongside the drawings help illustrate the selected works. This is the first time this significant set of original drawings sees the light to explain the inspiration behind this great creator.

From Naturalist Landscape to the Avant-Garde
Carmen Thyssen Museum, Malaga.
Until April 20, 2014.

Exhibition Calendar Spain 2014
CLAUDE MONET. Low Tide at Varengeville, 1882.

The exhibition Courbet, Van Gogh, Monet, Léger: From the Naturalist Landscape to the Avant Garde in the Carmen Thyssen Collection, organized by Obra Social La Caixa, in collaboration with the Carmen Thyssen Museum, presents a tour of landscape paintings from the triumph of naturalism to the mid-twentieth century, through a selection of works from the collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza.

The exhibit, divided into five sections, highlights the role of landscape painting in the renewal of modern art through the artists’ search for greater freedom of execution and direct contact with nature. It showcases the interesting connections that emerged between Spanish artists such as Carlos de Haes, Eliseu Meifrèno and Santiago Rusinol, among others, and the main trends in the international art, specifically the presence of Friedrich, Courbet, Van Gogh and Monet.

Language and Words.
National Library of Spain, Madrid.
Until January 26, 2014.

Exhibition Calendar Spain 2014
Exhibition view.

There is still time to visit La Lengua y la Palabra (Language and Words). To celebrate three hundred years of the Royal Spanish Academy, Queen Sofia of Spain inaugurated the exhibit before the end of 2013. The show has proven to be a great success and includes a total of 322 items, books, paintings, manuscripts and incunabula treasures distributed in seven sections or chapters:

Language and Speech: From Sound to Voice and Writing.
Creation of the Royal Academy and the Enlightenment.
War and Revolution 1808-1812: Spain in the 19th century.
Spain and America: The Language that Unites Us.
Between Ages.
An Agitated 20th Century: Language as a Science.
Cognitive and Technological Revolution: Steps Towards the 21st century.

The purpose of this magnificent display is to take an imaginary journey to specific times and particular situations in the history of the Spanish language, from the point of view of the Academy, and of course, from the personal avatars of some of the most notable scholars of each time. A gripping story that started with the ambitious goal of compiling a dictionary, resulting in an academy that includes decorated and cultured scholars who are able to review and discern the errors that plagued the Spanish language with the introduction of many barbarous and improper words. Eight determined men established the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language in July 6, 1713, at the Madrid home of Don Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco, Marquis of Villena.


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