The cultural activity of the Embassy of Spain in Bucharest has been remarkable in 2019. It has registered a significant increase in terms of initiatives and number of events, which has led to a highly visible presence of the Spanish culture in Romania.
2019 is a year of maximum significance for the Spaniards and for the Spanish culture and history, marked by two major commemorations. On one hand, the Prado National Museum of Madrid, the main cultural institution of Spain and one of the most important art galleries in the world, celebrates its 200th anniversary. The Museum hosts numerous works of an extraordinary artistic value created by famous painters such as Goya, Velázquez, Tiziano, Rubens or Rembrandt, and attracts more than 3 million visitors every year. On the other hand, we also celebrate the 5th centenary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth made by Ferdinand Magellan’s and Sebastián Elcano’s expedition under the auspices of the Spanish Crown. The first voyage around the world is possibly the greatest maritime adventure of all times, a technical and human feat whose drama is beyond the imaginable, but above all it is a key event in history, the epilogue to a series of ocean voyages that set off from the Iberian Peninsula and revolutionized human knowledge, laying the foundations for globalization and the modern world.
To celebrate the bicentenary of the Prado Museum in Romania, a large copy of the famous painting “Las Meninas” (The Ladies from the Royal Court), made by the Spanish artist Diego Velázquez, has been exhibited in several high schools in Bucharest. Alongside the copy of the painting “Las Meninas”, a natural-sized sculpture inspired by the characters portrayed by Velázquez in his masterpiece, representing the ladies from the royal court known as “meninas”, has also been displayed. The sculpture is decorated with the traditional motifs of a Romanian popular costume, for which reason the figurine was given the name of “Menina Rumana” (Romanian Menina). The official presentation of the Romanian Menina to the Romanian People took place on May 18th, on the occasion of the International Museum Day. On that day, the Museum of the Municipality of Bucharest hosted at the Sutu Palace an interesting conference about Diego Velázquez and his masterpiece.
This initiative will soon be followed by a new exhibition called “Prado en las calles” (Prado in the street), that will bring together several reproductions of the most emblematic works of Prado´s own collections. The Romanian public will be able to see some of the most well-known works of Spanish, Italian or Flemish painters, among others, on the fence of the Sutu Palace in Bucharest from October 11th until November 24th.
Besides the celebration of these two anniversaries, the promotion of Spanish music, literature, filmography and theatre has obviously been a top priority for Spanish authorities. Thus, we have brought to Romania (not only to Bucharest but also to many other cities) a careful selection of Spanish authors, composers and musicians who have taken part in a wide variety of cultural events. On Tuesday October 10th, the Odeon Theatre of Bucharest hosted a performance by the guitarist José María Gallardo and the bailaora Ana Morales, in a proposal of the most elegant and refined flamenco.
One of the most outstanding cultural activities promoted by the Spanish Embassy has been an urban art project carried out in cooperation with the Swedish Embassy, the Romanian Cultural Institute and the Hellenic Cultural Foundation, with the support of the Bucharest City Hall and the municipal transport company (STB). This project consisted in painting with graffiti two trams of Bucharest. The artistic intervention of the Spanish drawing was made by the team of urban artists “Sweet Damage Crew” and illustrates various symbols of our culture, including the figures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the Sagrada Familia of Barcelona and the portrait of Salvador Dalí.
The presence of Spanish creativity in Romania has also been particularly noticeable in the film industry. Probably the best example is the close collaboration between the Spanish Embassy and the Transilvania International Film Festival, the most important cinematographic event in the country. Within its framework a large number of Spanish film productions or co-productions were screened, like “The Realm”, “My Masterpiece” or “Virgin & Extra: Jaén, The Land of Olive Oil”. The movie “Parking”, directed by Tudor Giurgiu and co-produced by Romania, Spain and Czech Republic, opened the 18th edition of the TIFF, and the short movie “La Noria” (directed by Carlos Baena) won the Best Shadows Short Award. The city of Timisoara also witnessed a photographic exhibition about the Way of Saint James (El Camino de Santiago).
Many other Spanish musicians, actors, directors and artists have come to Romania over the last twelve months to share their art with the Romanian audience. They have performed in a wide range of events, such as the “International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival”, the illustration and graphic design festival “Visual Playground”, “CafeKultour Festival” in Timisoara, the “Sibiu International Theatre Festival”, the international music festival “Academia Sighisoara”, “Puppets Occupy Street Festival in Craiova” and the “International Literary Festival” in Timisoara, among many others. By taking part in these events, all the Spanish artists have contributed to reinforce the presence of Spanish culture in Romania. Many others will come in the next twelve months and we will be there to welcome them.