Cadiz: “mucho ARTE”
Versión en español aquí
There’s something special about the province of Cadiz, in South West Spain, that has locally taken the concept of Art to a whole new level.
In this part of Spain, “Arte” is not only the expression or application of human creativity but also a way to cope with and solve things. “Arte” is a genuine charm to enchant, move and make people smile. “Arte” is the ability to keep an optimistic outlook on life, to laugh at oneself and to give things the importance they deserve.
“Arte” is a gift from nature in Southern Spain. When someone has “Arte“, they are talented, bright and elegant in a unique way.
Someone with “mucho Arte” (a lot of Art) will get to jump the line in a shop, making the people in the queue excuse them without hesitation. A student with “Arte” will manage to write an exam without knowing much about the subject and still get a good mark and the teacher to smile while correcting it. A friend with “Arte” will show you how to forget about your worries and end up laughing at them. A colleague with “Arte” will reduce the anger of a boss to a far more relaxed mood in no time…
The province of Cadiz is filled with people with “Arte”. This “Arte” is in the air and it is very easy to notice. You only have to observe people for a while and “el Arte” (the Art) will show up at some point.
In Cadiz, the main meaning of Art tends to be the one we have just described and the conventional meaning people know everywhere else, is often a secondary one.
However, this hasn’t stopped the production, collection and exhibition of amazing pieces of Art in the province throughout history.
Cadiz has always been a land of inspiration for many artists of remarkable talent. Some of them were born in the city and got the local inspiration at an early stage. A great example of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was Felipe Abarzuza.
Moved by the light, the people and the colours of his homeland, Felipe Abarzuza started painting as a child, to later continue studying in Madrid, where he was taught by Joaquín Sorolla. There he improved his treatment of colour and light. This became present in many of his paintings like “La Buganvilla”, a cheerful piece that can be seen in the Reina Sofia culture center in Cadiz city.
Felipe Abarzuza also decorated the ceilings of several unique buildings in Cadiz old town such as the chapel in the women’s hospital, the Falla Theater, the sanctuary chapel in San Antonio’s church and the Café Royalty. His works can still be contemplated in these breath-taking places.
The wealth that the city of Cadiz accumulated during the 18th century, thanks to virtually holding the monopoly of all trade with America, allowed for the most important artists of that time to be commissioned for several art projects in the city. This was the case of Francisco de Goya, who decorated part of the oratory of the holy Cave, which we can admire today.
The city museum treasures magnificent pieces of art too. Many of them were previously in religious buildings, like some astonishing 17th century paintings by Francisco de Zurbaran.
These representations of Carthusian Monks originally decorated the Charterhouse of Santa María de la Defensión, just outside Jerez. This architecture gem is one of the most stunning constructions in the Sherry capital.
Not far away from there, we can find one of the most amazing private art collections in Andalusia and in the whole of Spain. It is hidden inside Bodegas Tradicion, a lovely Sherry winery in the former Muslim Medina of Jerez. If art and wine are your thing, this place is a must. Its impressive collection of paintings by Murillo, Francisco de Zurbaran, El Greco, Joaquin Sorolla and Francisco de Goya among many others, will leave you speechless, tucked away in magic.
Also, in their sacristy, where you can taste their heavenly Very Old Rare Sherries and Brandies, you can see some ceramics painted by Pablo Picasso. We strongly recommend the experience of enjoying the combination of the finest Spanish Art and Wine in Bodegas Tradicion.
Contemporary Art Pieces also have some privileged locations in the province of Cádiz. The space for contemporary creation (ECCO) in Cadiz capital city is a wonderful art spot where we can see a series of large-format paintings by one of the most representative art-collectives of the Spanish eighties: Costus.
Costus was a creative couple formed by Enrique Naya (who was born in Cadiz) and Juan Carrero. This series was painted after the couple moved together to Madrid and it is a fantastic representation of the art that emerged in the capital during a key period of political transition in Spain.
However, the most special contemporary art space in the province of Cadiz is hidden away from the aforementioned cities. Tucked in a magic forest near Vejer de la Frontera, Montenmedio Contemporary Art Foundation (NMAC) has a unique collection of sculptures and installations scattered among the trees.
Walking through this quiet forest in search of its hidden sculptures is a beautiful experience that connects art and nature in a unique way. Montenmedio Contemporary Art Foundation has, among many other pieces, a pavilion by James Turrell where architecture, sculpture, space and the magic light of the province of Cadiz create a unique sensory experience.
We love art and architecture and we are passionate about the many great pieces that can be found in our homeland. Both art and architecture play a very important role in our culture and heritage tours. If you’d like to come on a journey of cultural discoveries with us, click here. We’ll be delighted to take you on board!