Hospital de los Venerables – Velázquez & Murillo

This year is the 400th anniversary of the birth of Bartolome Murillo, probably Sevilla’s most famous painter, and has been officially declared the Year of Murillo. As part of the commemorations the Fundación Focus-Abengoa, in collaboration with the Prado Museum, London’s National Gallery, and others, has organised a very special exhibition comparing the work of Murillo and Sevilla’s other most famous painter, Diego Velázquez.

velazquez murilloThe two painters, born in Seville a generation apart (Velazquez in 1599 and Murillo in 1617), and having their formative influences there, nevertheless had quite different career trajectories, Velazquez leaving Seville to work at the Spanish court in Madrid in 1623, while Murillo spent his entire working life in Seville. It’s not known whether the two ever actually met in person (though they must have been aware of each others’ work), but while there is no record of a meeting, it’s not impossible as Murillo visited Madrid on several occasions, although art experts think that there was only limited reciprocal influence.

santa rufinaSanta Rufina by Murillo (left) and Velázquez (right)

However, it’s clear from the 19 paintings in the exhibition, 10 by Murillo and 9 by Velázquez, that there were common influences in the cultural world of Sevilla in the 17th century. This shows itself in both the choice (or commissioning) of subjects, especially in religious subjects pertaining to Sevilla such as the Saints Justa and Rufina and the Immaculate Conception, as well as of Saint Peter and the Adoration of the Magi, and the highly naturalistic style of the scenes of everyday life.

day to day lifeEveryday scenes by Velázquez (left) and Murillo (right)

It’s also appropriate that the exhibition is being hosted in the Venerables Hospital, a building that is of the early 17th century, and which has both a historical and current associations with the two painters. Around mid-January the exhibition, which continues until February 28th, surpassed the 50,000 visitor mark.

Velásquez | Murillo | Sevilla
Hospital de los Vernerables
Plaza de los Venerables 8
Open 10.00 – 18.00 (last entrance at 17.30)
General Admission: 8 euros
Free Admission Tuesday 14.00 – 18.00

Terracotta Army – Xi’an Warriors

terracotta army
From Friday, November 13, 2015 until Sunday January 24, 2016 150 reproductions of the famous terracotta warriors that were buried next to the tomb of the first emperor of China the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang (210-209 BC.) will be on display at Muelle de las Delicias.

The tour of the exhibition consists of warriors, horses and war equipment and other findings of the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and takes approximately two hours, including the screening of a documentary. Weekend workshops will be organized for children.


Terracotta Army – The Xi’an Warriors
Muelle de las Delicias
Paseo de las Delicias
November 13 2015 – January 24 2016
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00 – 21.00
Sundays & holidays 10.00 – 19.00
Entrance up to 1.5 hours before closing
Price: 8.00€ (general) 6.00€ (children under 12 – under 4 get in free)

Andalucía Sabor 2015

andalucia sabor 2015
This year saw the 5th edition of the Andalucian Fine Food Exhibition (Andalucía Sabor), which was held in the Palacio de Congresos from September 14-16.

This biennial event is organised by the Department of Agriculture, Fishing and Rural Development of the Junta to promote the best of Andalucian produce and gastronomy to a world market. It brings together professionals from every part of the gastronomic world from primary producers, through the Consejos Reguladores to chefs, wholesalers and distributors, and the press. As well as the exhibition stands activities include tastings of oil, ham and wine, ham cutting and cooking competitions and demonstrations, and round table discussions.

In other years I have focussed on the conferences but this year I spent most of my time checking out the products and watching the presentations and workshops. Here are a few of the highlights…

Continue reading “Andalucía Sabor 2015”

Henry Moore in Sevilla

henry moore[click on image to enlarge]

A selection of abstract bronzes by Henry Moore (1898-1986), one of the great masters of modern sculpture, are being exhibited in various cities in Spain this year: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Valencia and Bilbao. From now until mid-March it’s Sevilla’s turn. There are seven large bronze sculptures in total, which can be seen in the the Plaza del Triunfo square – a great opportunity to enjoy the strength and character of Moore’s work in an urban setting rather than inside a museum. Two of his most common themes will be present: reclining figures and connected pieces that represent a protective mother and her child.

The director of the Henry Moore Foundation, Richard Calvocoressi, is enthusiastic about the location of the bronzes. “Moore’s sculptures are based on the human figure, but we cannot forget the presence of natural forms, how they were inspired by rock formations, mountains or cliffs,” he said, “and the statues on this site seem to be in continuous dialogue with the Cathedral, which is like a mountain of stone, and the outer wall of the Alcázar, which is a sort of cliff.” Calvocoressi downplayed the rain saying that bronze looks better wet and the light here in Sevilla at the moment is like you might find on a rare summer day in England, a fitting way to appreciate these magnificent works.

I took a walk around the square during a sunny break on Friday afternoon and agree that the statues look terrific in that setting. I overheard two Spanish women talking about the reclining mother and child and the older of the two, who had to be in her eighties, said that she knew it was supposed to be a child at the breast but it still looked like a corkscrew to her. I’ll never be able to look at that statue again without a smile. And seeing a corkscrew. 🙂

Henry Moore Bronzes
February 6 to March 12, 2014
Plaza del Triunfo

Córdoba | Palacio de Viana

blue potsCórdoba is undoubtedly one of the most important historic cities in Europe, with a list of world-class monuments topped by the splendid Mezquita. But it also has quieter, less obvious charms. Among these are the famous Córdoban patios and courtyards (which even have their own festival), decked with flowers, often in the distinctive dark blue flower pots that can be seen all over the cities. Of course, patios and courtyards are not unique to Córdoba, being a typical architectural form all around the Mediterranean, but here they have been developed more than almost anywhere else, and have become almost a local art-form.

For this reason no visit to Córdoba can really be considered complete without going to see the Palace of Viana, the Museum of the Patios, and a few days ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to a tour both of the patios and the palace of which they form a part (it was actually my second visit as last year I saw the patios shortly after the museum had opened). In fact, I have only been in summer (first last June and now August) and really must go again in the spring.

viana collage

[a few of the Palacio de Viana patios]

The palace is known to have existed since the 14th century, and in the 15th became the home of the Don Gome family. In the 17th century it became known as the Rejas (grilles) de Don Gome, because of the barred windows of the patio giving on to the street outside. The original palace occupied a much smaller area than the palace as it is now, but under a succession of owners it has grown and changed over the centuries. In the 19th century, when it was the residence of the Marques de Villaseca, the house of Torres Cabrera, another palace that lay alongside, was taken over in its entirety. In 1902 the Palace became the property of the second Marquis of Viana, and over the next two generations completed its evolution into almost the form we see today. In 1980, on the death of the third Marquis, the Palace was sold to the CajaSur foundation and registered as a monument of national historic importance.

The palace today has twelve courtyards and a garden, intertwined with the various wings and sections of the palace, whose rooms and galleries house important collections of artifacts and artworks, including Breughel and Goya, tapestries and furniture, as well as an impressive library with over 7,000 books. I recommend taking the guided tour of the upstairs rooms. Although it is only given in Spanish there are printed handouts in different languages that give you a brief description of the rooms and collections.

There are also nighttime events and concerts which must be magical in that setting. You can check events, dates and times on the Palacio de Viana website.

Palacio de Viana
Plaza de Don Gome, 2


Santas de Zubarán: Devoción & Persuasion

santas-zurbaran-sevillaThis was one of the most enjoyable exhibitions I’ve seen in awhile. Combining art and fashion is bound to please and it also makes paintings like these feel more accessible. Francisco Zubarán (1598 – 1664) is mostly known for his religious paintings and still lifes, and here the outfits worn by his martyr saints have been interpreted by 12 contemporary Spanish fashion designers, including well-known names Vittorio & Lucchino and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.

The Espacio Santa Clara is a former convent that has recently been done over as a cultural centre. The space is gorgeous with tiled patios and beautiful wood-beamed ceilings in the galleries.

To find out more about this fabulous exhibition check out Scribbler in Seville’s excellent and detailed review.

Espacio Santa Clara
Calle Becas (just off the Alameda)
Entrance: 6 euros / free for Sevilla residents
Audioguide 1.20 euros (included in 6 euro ticket)
10.00 – 14.00 Monday – Saturday
18.00 – 22.00 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday / 18.00 – 21.00 Thursday, Friday
10.00 – 15.00 Sunday
Until 20th July

Santas de Zubarán: Devoción y Persuasión

Centro del Mudéjar

mudejar centre
The Palace of the Marqueses of the Algaba is home to Sevilla’s newest cultural centre, this one dedicated to the legacy of the Mudéjars of the 13th – 16th centuries. The palace was first built in this period and is worth a visit itself. Although it has undergone reforms since then it still boasts a splendid example of a mudéjar-gothic grand doorway and tower, as well as a lush central courtyard garden enclosed by arched walkways.

The centre opened on January 12th with an exhibit bringing together 111 pieces from different museums.

Centro del Mudéjar
Plaza Calderón de la Barca
(just behind Feria Market)
8 am – 2 pm / 5 pm – 8 pm Monday to Friday
Saturdays 8 am – 2 pm. Closed Sunday.
Admission is free.

Centro de Interpretación de la Judería

The new Centro de Interpretación de la Judería de Sevilla, which opened yesterday, is the city’s first museum of the history and achievements of Sevilla’s Jews, telling their story in words (both in Spanish and English) and pictures along with other exhibits. It is the latest project of the Casa de la Memoria, one of Sevilla’s best known flamenco cultural centres.

It is a very moving exhibit and you can lose yourself in the stories of some of Sevilla’s most important historical figures, such as Pablo de Olavide, José María Blanco White and the mysterious Susona Ben Susón. You can also see the original 19th century painting “The Expulsion of the Jews from Sevilla” by Joaquín Turina y Areal.

I also liked the map of the old Jewish Quarter, which was created especially for the Centre. New exhibits and events are being planned for the future.

Ximenez de Enciso, 22
Daily 10.30-14.00 and 17.30 – 20.00
entrance €6.50
Tel: 954 047 089

Velá de Santa Ana 2012

Triana’s biggest annual street party – the Velá de Santiago y Santa Ana – starts next week on Friday July 20th with dozens of activities and concerts planned.

Dating from the thirteenth century, the Velá is celebrated every year in late July and Sevillianos flock to the “other side” of the river to enjoy this traditional week-long summer festival.

Plaza Altozano and the surrounding streets are at the center of the fiesta, particularly Betis street, where there are food and craft booths and a small fun fair for children. It’s a great place to stroll, have a beer or a glass of fino with some “pescaito frito” and sample the traditional green hazelnuts.

Also check out the “Desvelando Triana” (Revealing Triana) photography exhibit at the Castillo de San Jorge to learn more about the history of Triana and the Velá, on until August 26th 10 am – 2 pm (until July 26th you can also visit the exhibit 7 pm – 11 pm).

Velá de Santa Ana
20 – 28 July 2012

Cajasol Auction of Alfonso Xlll Furniture

Starting today until April 18th you can visit this Cajasol exhibit of furnishings that were removed from Sevilla’s landmark Alfonso Xlll Hotel during its recent makeover.

These items will later be sold at an auction on Wednesday the 18th and I’ve been told that the starting prices are going to be quite reasonable. In any case, it’ll be fun to stop by the exhibit and pretend to be pre-shopping for the auction…

Centro Cultural Cajasol
April 9th – 17th
C/ Laraña 4
11.00 – 14.00 / 17.00 – 20.00
Sundays 11.00 – 14.00

April 18th
Lots 1 – 68 at 10.00
Lots 69 – 109 at 17.00