9 Most Famous Spanish Paintings You Cannot Leave Without Seeing
Must See Spanish Masterpieces
The Spanish masters have left impressive works of art which are now on display in some of the biggest museums in the country. You may not have the time to visit every one of these amazing places, but you cannot leave without having seen the biggest Spanish masterpieces. And just so you do not have to wonder confused from one place to another, we have made a list of 9 most famous Spanish paintings. If anything, at the end of your trip you might even become a Picasso, Goya or Velazquez fan. You do not know who these guys are or you know a little something but not enough? Then keep reading this article.
9 of the most important Spanish paintings and where to find them
1. Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, on display at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid
Pablo Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ mural
What everybody seems to say about this is that even if you do not manage to see anything else in Spain, you must make time to see Guernica. Picasso’s most famous work of art is a representation from the Spanish Civil War, namely the aftermath of the German bombing of the Basque town in which everything is left shattered.
2. Francisco Goya’s Third of May, on display at the Prado Museum in Madrid
Francisco Goya’s ‘Third of May’
Before Guernica there was the Third of May, Goya’s masterpiece having inspired Picasso. The painting depicts Napoleon’s army executing Spanish rebels and innocent bystanders on the night of May 3rd, 1808, one day after citizens of Madrid revolted against the French occupying forces. The work of art is revolutionary in the sense that until then, all war paintings represented acts of heroism on either side. This episode is lacking in war luster, it is unheroic and emotional.
3. Diego Velazquez, Las Meninas, on display at the Prado Museum in Madrid
Diego Velazquez’ ‘Las Meninas’
Las Meninas shows the family of king Felipe IV, namely the Spanish Infanta Margarita and her maids of Honor (las meninas). The parents appear reflected in a mirror at the back of the painting. This work has inspired numerous other artists to make their own interpretations. Picasso himself has a series of paintings reinterpreting Velazquez’s greatest work. And if you are at the Prado to see this work, sneak a peek at the rest of the Velazquez collection. It is the most extensive one.
4. El Greco, Burial of the Count of Orgaz, at the Church of San Tome in Toledo
El Greco’s ‘Burial of Count of Orgaz’
If you are visiting the town of Toledo, make sure to see this masterpiece. It covers an entire wall of the chapel of San Tome and only by standing in front of it you can understand the genius of the artist. The painting gives the impression it is reaching up toward the heavens. Also, picking up a leaflet about the painting would not be a bad idea as there are things to discover, like the face of Spanish writer Miguel Cervantes.
5. Pablo Picasso’s, The Wait, at the Pablo Picasso Museum in Barcelona
Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Wait’
The eyes of mysterious Margot haunt and follow you. The Wait is among the paintings that helped Picasso make a name for himself and one of the masterpieces you can see at the Barcelona Pablo Picasso Museum. The source of inspiration is a morphine addicted prostitute with a haunting gaze, depicted in vibrant colors. It simply feels alive and you must see this.
6. Salvador Dali’s Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Wakening up at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
Salvador Dali’s ‘Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Wakening’
Any art lover would ask how you could travel to Spain and not see any of Dali’s works. However, if time is short, you must at least make the time to see The Dream. It represents Dali’s wife, Gala, dreaming of tigers. The great thing about surrealism is that it is so complex and open to interpretation that it means whatever you want it to mean. Seeing it in person is awe inspiring.
7. Jeff Koon’s, Puppy, at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
Ok, this is not a painting. But it is still something we felt you need to see. Jeff Koons created the puppy that stands outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. It is made out of live bedding plants that keep growing. The artist expressed a desire that his work inspires joy and it is another example of how he strives to break down the barriers between art and the people.
8.Juan Sanchez Cotan’s, Still Life with Game, Vegetables and Fruit at the Prado Museum in Madrid
Juan Sanchez Cotan’s ‘Still Life with Game, Vegetables and Fruit”
This is one of six known paintings of Juan Sanchez Cotan, the artist thought to be the father of still life in Spain and in Europe. His technique of having a strong light source over well lit objects set against a very dark background would be copied and perfected in the years to come throughout Europe. This painting dates back to 1602.
9. El Greco’s, Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest, on display at the Prado Museum in Madrid
El Greco’s ‘Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest’
This is another one of El Greco’s remarkable compositions. The nobleman was identified as being a notary, Juan da Silva, a gentleman judging from his clothes and adornments. The position of his fingers has long been discussed. Spread out as they are, they have been interpreted as a vow, a rethorical gesture or repentance. The composition has something very natural yet extremely compelling. You should see it for yourself.