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Posts from the ‘Art’ Category

Seville | Film Festival 2015

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The 12th Sevilla Festival de Cine Europeo (SEFF 2015) comes to town on Friday, November 6, for a nine day stay until Saturday, November 14. The primary organisers are the Institute of Arts and Culture of Sevilla (ICAS), and the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), with the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. It aims to bring together performers and professionals from the world of cinema, with journalists and critics, financial providers and the general public, and to showcase the best of contemporary European cinema.

The core of the Festival is the competitive sections of different categories of films. The main Official Section is for the year’s most important new European films, the winners receiving the Gold (first prize) and Silver (second prize) Giraldillos. Among the films on show will be “Bitter Well”, “Berserker”, “Toxic Love”, and “The Foreigner”. Other sections include New Wave and New Wave non-fiction for new talents and fringe cinema, short films, Spanish cinema and cinema for younger viewers. There will also be awards for Best Actor, Actress, Director and Screenplay. The principal venues will be at Cines Sur in Nervion, the Alameda Theatre, and the Lope de Vega Theatre, where you will also be able to see special screenings, tributes and retrospectives.

There will be opportunities for roundtables and seminars with leading figures from the world of European cinema, and exhibitions and concerts with cinematic themes.

For lovers of cinema planning to visit the festival we still have a range of quality holiday apartments available in the historic centre of Seville.

Seville | Bellas Artes Museum

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Bartolomé Murillo – The Immaculate Virgin

It may not be as grand and prestigious as the Prado or the Pompidou, but Seville’s Fine Arts Museum still houses one of Spain’s most important collections of works of art (mostly paintings, but also sculptures and engravings), and does so on a human scale that can be enjoyed without having an in-depth knowledge of art.

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Statue of Murillo – Plaza del Museo

The Museum can be found about five minutes walk away from the commercial centre, not far from the river, in the Plaza del Museo, a charming formally laid out square with marble benches, orange trees, two giant Moreton Bay Fig trees, and a statue of Bartolomé Murillo, probably Seville’s most famous painter. On Sunday mornings there’s a local art market here. Come along for a browse, and maybe you’ll be able to buy an early work by the next Michaelangelo (well, we can all dream).

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Courtyard – Bellas Artes Museum

The building itself is stunning, and is almost as much a reason for coming here as the artwork. It originally belonged to the Convent of the Order of the Merced Calzada de la Asunción, founded on the site by Saint Peter Nolasco shortly after the reconquest of Seville by the Christians in 1248, but the building we see today, with the galleries arranged on two floors around three quiet courtyards and a central staircase, dates back to the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and was largely the work of Juan de Oviedo. The garden courtyards are a great place to just sit and relax a while before or after seeing the collection.

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Alonso Vazquez – The Last Supper

The Museum was founded in 1839, following La Desamortización (Ecclesiastical Confiscations – the Spanish version of the English Dissolution of the Monasteries), and many of the artworks in the Museum originally came from religious buildings seized by the government at that time. The emphasis of the collections is on Spanish, and particularly Sevillano, painters and sculptors, from the late Mediaeval period to the early 20th century, including the Golden Age of Seville in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the wealth generated by trade with the New World encouraged the flourishing of arts and the intellectual life in general. The Museum has works by over a hundred artists, including such luminaries as Murillo, Zurbarán, Valdés Leal, Goya and the Herreras.

If walking’s not your thing, you can rent a holiday house or apartment in the next street. Relax and enjoy!

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Monsalves Town House

Seville | El Centro

Often overlooked for the more obvious tourist neighbourhoods around the Cathedral, El Centro, the commercial hub and main shopping area of Seville, has a surprising amount to offer the visitor. It starts with the shopping, of course. Seville’s two main shopping streets, Sierpes and Tetuan-Velazquez run parallel from La Campana (the bell) to Plaza San Francisco and Plaza Nueva. They tend to be dominated by international names these days, but Sierpes still has a number of “Sevillano” shops like Juan Foronda, where you can pick up a nice handmade fan or shawl, and SohoBenita around the Metropol Parasol is the up and coming area for trendy boutiques. At weekends browse the street markets in Plaza del Duque or Plaza de la Magdalena. And of course there are always lots of shoe shops.

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The limits of El Centro are set in a rough triangle by three of the city’s most important buildings (after the Cathedral and Alcázar). The splendid and ornately carved (on one side) edifice with plazas to either side at the end of the Avenida de la Constitución is the Casa Consistoriales, which houses the ayuntamiento (city council). The original casa was built in the early 16th century along the outside wall of the Franciscan friary, which occupied what is now the Plaza Nueva, and gave its name to Plaza San Francisco. The archway at the end of the building was originally the entrance to the friary. When the friary was demolished in 1840 to create the new square a new facade and main entrance were built. The sculptures by the archway include the figures of Hercules and Julius Caesar, the “founders” of the city.

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To the west of El Centro is the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum). This is one of the most important collections of (mainly) classical age art in Spain, housed in the lovely old Merced convent. Outside is one of those pretty plazas that Seville is so good at, where you can relax in the shade of a pair of enormous fig trees. It also has a local art market on Sundays. Buy a painting, put it in your attic, and who knows – in a few hundred years your descendants might suddenly become very rich indeed.

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To the east is Seville’s contribution to modern architecture, the Metropol Parasols, the world’s largest manmade wooden structure. Completed four years ago, after a long period of gestation (the old Encarnación market that stood here before was demolished in 1973), there was a lot of controversy about both the design and the cost of its construction, but now it’s done it’s one of my favourite places in Seville. Come here during the day to visit the market and the Roman ruins in the basement, and take the lift up to the walkways on top for a bird’s eye view of the city. Come after dark to see it lit up like a scene from Close Encounters.

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Other things to see in El Centro include the Motilla Palace (you won’t find it in the guidebooks as it’s still a private residence, but it’s the Italian style palace with the tower on the corner just down from the Parasols), the elegant Baco 2 and the Casa de la Memoria just across the street, the Casa Palacio of Lebrija and the El Salvador church. This was built on the site of the old Grand Mosque (and the Roman basilica before that), and still has original Moorish archways and minaret (now the belltower).

Veoapartments have a wide range of apartments in this central neighbourhood that cater to all budgets and numbers, and give you an excellent central base to explore the historic centre of the city.

Malaga | Three New Museums

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Already an important centre for the arts, especially for a city of its size, with the Picasso Museum, Carmen Thyssen Museum and the Contemporary Arts Centre all being internationally recognised, Málaga has recently moved up a gear with the opening of the new Centro Pompidou Málaga, the Russian Museum and the Bullfighting Arts Centre.

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The new Pompidou Centre is, of course, an offshoot of the famous Pompidou centre in Paris’ one of the world’s largest and most prestigious collections of 20th century art, and only the second such after the Pompidou Metz. The agreement between Malaga and the Pompidou will last initially for five years, with the option of another five. The Málaga collection is being housed in the large glass cube at the end of Muelle Uno in the renovated port, a variation of the glass pyramid at the original.

The new centre will be in three sections. The first will house the permanent collection, consisting of around 80 paintings and other works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Max Ernst, René Magritte and Rineke Dijkstra. The second will be for temporary exhibitions on particular themes (starting with Joan Miro’s works on paper, and female photographers of the 20s and 30s), lasting between 3 and 6 months. The third will be devoted to workshops for children and adolescents to encourage the next generation of artists.

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The Russian Museum, a branch of Saint Petersburg’s State Russian Museum, can be found in Málaga’s old Tobacco Factory (itself an important example of 1920s regionalist architecture), which it shares with the Automobile Museum. Its permanent exhibition is of Russian art from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries, with items ranging from Byzantine icons, through Romanticism and Avant-garde to Soviet Realism, and of every size from the very small to the monumental. The 1,000 or so works on display form the largest collection of Russian art in western Europe, and are a fascinating window onto a culture at once familiar and exotic.

The museum will also house a series of temporary exhibitions tracing the relationship of Russian and European art, an auditorium and reading room and digital resources creating a virtual museum of the parent institution, as well as a Children’s centre with computer games and creative workshops.

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The Centro Arte Tauromaquia can be found in the former tourist offices in the Plaza del Siglo in the centre of the old city, which have been totally renovated to accommodate a multi media salon and more than 300 pieces of the Juan Barco art collection, possibly the most complete and comprehensive in the world of bullfighting. Posters, paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures, including works by Picasso, Goya and Salvador Dali. Definitely a must see for anyone fascinated by the romance of the bullfight.

These three new museums will make Málaga one one of the most important cities of art in Spain, and are a great reason to be one of the growing number of visitors here, whether you stay in a hotel or rent an apartment.

Granada | Museums

Although famous first and foremost for the great fortress and palace of the Alhambra, Granada is by no means a “one-horse town”, and has a wealth of history and culture to discover in its streets and monuments, and also in its many museums.

0228_carnero-granada-apartments-terrace-alhambra-views-spain-01view of the Alhambra from our Carnero apartment in the Albaicin

Until the 11th century Granada was a minor provincial town in the Caliphate of Córdoba, but in the mid 13th century, after the defeat of the Almohads (Moorish Kings of Seville) by the Christians, it became the capital of the Nasrids, the last Moorish rulers of Spain. They took over a small hilltop fortress called the Alhambra, and in the course of two centuries turned it into one of the most spectacular places on earth.

Two of Granada’s most important museums, the Alhambra and the Fine Arts are actually housed in the Carlos V Palace in the Alhambra complex. The Alhambra Museum has a large collection of ceramics and other objects used in the Nasrid palace complex, and of Mudejar art in general. The Fine Arts Museum has a collection of paintings and sculptures by artists such as Alonso Cano.

entrance to patio of Casa Castril

entrance to patio of Casa Castril

If you want to go right back to the beginning, the Archaeological Museum is the place to be. It has a huge collection of objects from the paleolithic era through to the end of the Moorish period. This museum is currently closed for renovations, though some of the exhibits can be seen at the Museo de la Memoria de Andalucia.

Statue of Einstein (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Statue of Einstein (courtesy of Wikimedia)

If modern is more your style you may want to visit the Science Museum. This is also a great one for the children, with lots of activities and interactive displays to awaken their interest in how things work. There’s a planetarium, and sections on the biosphere, perception and exploration, and also an observation tower that looks out over the city.

The Jewish contribution to the religious, cultural and intellectual life of late mediaeval Granada is remembered in two museums, the Sefardi Museum in the old Jewish neighbourhood of the Realejo, and the Palacio de Los Olvidades (the forgotten). Both give an insight into the daily life of the Jews in Granada, with collections of domestic and religious items and lots more.

For a closer look at the life of the Moors in Granada, pay a visit to the recently opened Casa de Zafra, a Nasrid mansion in the lower Albaicin that was incorporated into a convent. The tranquil courtyard with a pool is typical of the architecture of the period, and makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.

Coffins of the Catholic Kings (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Coffins of the Catholic Kings (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Coming into the Christian period, the Royal Chapel (next to the Cathedral), has a collection of Royal and personal belongings of the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, while the Casa de Los Pisa is home to the Museum of Juan de Dios (John of God).

Another very popular museum is the Sacramonte, which looks at life in the “Gypsy” neighbourhood of the Sacramonte. The area is famous for its cave houses, and the museum recreates a cave house of 100 years ago, and includes lots about the history of the neighbourhood and of Granada. There are also stunning views of the Alhambra and Albaicin from the area around the museum, that are worth making the journey for all by themselves.

Alhambra Museum and Fine Arts Museum
Palacio Carlos V
Tel: +34 958 027 900/929

Archaeological Museum (Casa de Castril)
Carrera del Darro, 41
Tel: +34 958 225 603

Science Museum
Avenida del Mediterraneo, s/n
Tel: +34 958 131 900

Museo Sefardi
Placeta Berrocal, 5
Tel: +34 958 220 578

Palacio de los Olvidades
Cuesta de Santa Inés, 6
Tel: +34 958 100 840

Casa de Zafra
Portería de la Concepción, 8
Tel: +34 958 180 079

Royal Chapel
Plaza de la Lonja, Gran Via, 5
Tel: +34 958 222 959

Juan de Dios (Casa de los Pisa)
Convalencia, 1
Tel: +34 959 222 144

Sacramonte Caves
Barranco de los Negros, s/n
Tel: +34 958 215 120