5 Hidden Artistic Enclaves in the Center of Madrid

By | 29 January, 2014 | 0 comments

En la plaza de Ramales descansan los restos mortales de Velázquez

In the centre of Madrid, the opportunity of contemplating a piece of history that can take us to past times appears step after step. From our 3-star hotel on Calle Arenal we have the magnificent opportunity of being able to follow in the footsteps of great writers, painters and artists from many centuries ago.

Today we will tell you about five great artists: Larra, Velázquez, Quevedo, Lope de Vega and Neruda and of the places where they lived, hidden artistic enclaves in the light of day in the centre of Madrid, that you can visit without having to go far from our hotel.

1) CALLE SANTA CLARA: MARIANO JOSÉ DE LARRA

Just under 10 minutes away walking on the street of our hotel towards the west we reach Calle Santa Clara.

On number 3 of this street is where the writer and journalist Mariano José de Larra (1809-1837) lived. A commemorative plaque evokes the fleeting and passionate life of the writer, who committed suicide right here on February 13th 1837.

2) PLAZA DE RAMALES: DIEGO VELÁZQUEZ

If we follow on Calle Arenal, on the next crossing we get to Plaza de Ramales. Under the pavement of this square is where the remains of Diego Velázquez (1599-1600) lay, the immortal painter of masterpieces such as Las Meninas, Las Hilanderas or The Surrender of Breda.

When he died in 1660, the artist was buried in the Church of San Juan with all the honours of a Knight of the Order of Santiago. During Napoleonic times, the church was demolished and his gravestone disappeared, with the exact location of his grave now unknown.

3) CALLE QUEVEDO: QUEVEDO AND GÓNGORA

On the street dedicated to the writer, on the corner with Calle Lope de Vega and in front of the Convent of Las Trinitarias, there is still a house popularly known as Casa de Quevedo (1580-1645). However, what many people don’t know is that this same house was the home of his archrival, Luis de Góngora (1561-1627) and that Quevedo acquired when Góngora went bankrupt. Quevedo himself tells that he burned the poems of Garcilaso de la Vega to “de-Gongorise” the house.

4) LOPE DE VEGA HOUSE-MUSEUM

In the heart of the Barrio de las Letras there is still the house where Lope de Vega (1562-1635) lived for many years. The building dates from 1578 and has become a House-Museum that you can visit (Mon-Sun, 10am-3pm) where the settings where the writer lived and wrote are recreated, the place that he once called “My little home, my stillness, my allotment and study”.

5) CASA DE LAS FLORES: NERUDA

To complete this trip of old literature, we can take the Metro to Argüelles and visit the Casa de las Flores. This beautiful building owes its name to the many flowerpots that decorate its balconies and it was the residence of Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) between 1934 and 1936. Casa de las Flores was the stage for many discussions between the members of the Generation of ‘27: Federico García Lorca, Rafael Alberti and Miguel Hernández among others. One of the many poems Neruda wrote here was “Spain in My Heart”.

Image (CC) Florentino Sánchez

Categories: Cultura Madrid

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