Check the Reina Sofia website before you go to see what exhibitions will be on.
Presided over by King Alfonso XII and his wife Queen Maria Christina of Austria in 1883, the Exposición Nacional de Minería - or to give it its full title in English, the ‘National Exhibition of Mining, Metallurgical Arts, Ceramics, Glass and Mineral Waters’ - was quite an event. Aimed to promote the Spanish mining industry, it saw exhibitors from Spain and other countries display machinery, utensils and tools over 9 square kilometres of Buen Retiro Park.
The main pavilion for the exhibition was built by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco (also the architect of the nearby Palacio de Cristal). Other purpose-built facilities, including an adjoining avenue lined with oversized ceramic frogs that led to an artificial lake, were demolished after the exhibition, but Palacio Velázquez survives.
Palacio Velázquez is a large and impressive construction: its red-brick neoclassical façade is comprised of arcades, with tiles by ceramist Daniel Zuloaga in a decorative style typical of the architect. The vaulted iron and glass roof floods the space with natural light.
Inside, world-class art exhibitions have been held for nearly 100 years, including contemporary shows by Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Juan Muñoz and José Manuel Boto. It currently plays host to temporary exhibitions held by Madrid’s Reina Sofia museum.
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