Madrid International Art Fair
Drawing hundreds of artists from around the world, as well
as thousands of visitors, the Madrid International Art Fair
is one of the largest exhibits of modern day artists.
Artistic categories include a wide range of media including
sculpture, photography, video and experimental art. Hosts
of association, magazine, and art gallery representatives
are present to promote their companies. Artistic discussions
and lectures are also part of the activities. It exhibits
priceless collection of art treasures. Admission fee: EUR43
Monasterio de El Escorial
This historic complex is divided into three parts: the monastery
(with Lucas Jordán's frescoes), the royal mausoleum,
and the palace. Titian, El Greco, and Claudio Coello, as well
as wonderful 18th-century furniture decorate the palace’s
magnificent rooms with paintings. Apart from this, the library
contains a fascinating collection of manuscripts and the Museum
of Painting and Architecture is worth a look.
Felipe II commissioned Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de
Herrera to build everything between 1563 and 1584 to commemorate
Spanish victory in the battle of San Quintín (1557).
Admission fee: Adult EUR 8, or EUR 9 with a guided tour; children
5-16s: EUR5; under-5s: free. Wed: free for EU citizens
Palacio Real (Royal Palace)
Built in 1738 on the site of the Madrid Alcázar, this
huge palace was burned to the ground in 1734. The palace was
last used as a royal residence in 1931, before King Alfonso
XIII and his wife, Victoria Eugénie, fled Spain.
Some of its 2,000 rooms--which that "enlightened despot"
Charles III called home--are open to the public today; others
are still used for state business.
Highlights of a visit include the Reception Room, the State
Apartments, the Armory, and the Royal Pharmacy. Other rooms
include a rococo room with a diamond clock; a porcelain salon;
the Royal Chapel; the Banquet Room, where receptions for heads
of state are still held; and the Throne Room. The rooms are
literally stuffed with art treasures and antiques--salon after
salon of monumental grandeur, with no apologies for the damask,
mosaics, stucco, Tiepolo ceilings, gilt and bronze, chandeliers,
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina
Set within the echoing, futuristically renovated walls of
the former General Hospital, originally built between 1776
and 1781, the museum is a sprawling, high-ceilinged showplace
named after the Greek-born wife of Spain's present king.
Filling for the world of modern art the role that the Prado
has filled for traditional art, the "MOMA" of Madrid
(its nickname) is the greatest repository of 20th-century
art in Spain. Once designated "the ugliest building in
Spain" by Catalán architect Oriol Bohigas, the
Reina Sofía has a design that hangs in limbo somewhere
between the 18th and the 21st centuries. It incorporates a
50,000-volume art library and database, a cafe, a theater,
a bookstore, Plexiglas-sided elevators, and systems that calibrate
security, temperature, humidity, and the quality of light
surrounding the exhibits.