Jul 19, 2008

Bilbao Tourist Attractions

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao encompasses two major aspects of art & architecture.

The modern curved and undulating structure (built 1991-7) was designed by Frank O. Gehry on what was an estuary of the Nervión River. Even one of Bilbao's principal bridges passes through it and thus the museum wraps itself around the very heart of the city. Partly clad in Titanium, the structure has been interpreted as a silver-scaled school of fish. Other sections are covered with sandstone, glass curtain walls, and staircases which serve the fact that much of the structure is below grade so as not to conflict with the surrounding city.

The interior contains 19 variously shaped galleries. The modern art collection places particular emphasis on sculpture.

The museum features a rotating permanent collection as well as special exhibitions.

Museum of Basqye Archeology,Ethnography,History
The former Jesuit college of Santos Joanes is now occupied by the Museum of Basque Archeology, Ethnography and History, with three departments documenting the history and way of life of the Basques.

The archeological section, on the ground floor, displays prehistoric finds from burials in Basque territory. The cloister houses various tombs, memorial stones and pieces of sculpture, with the mysterious idol of Mikeldi in the center.

The ethnographic section displays selected objects illustrating the fisheries, agriculture, folk art and crafts of the Basque country. In a separate room is a large relief model of the Basque provinces.

The historical section includes examples of woodcarving and weapons, but is mainly devoted to the history of the Consulate of Bilbao, which regulated shipping and commerce in Bilbao from 1511 to 1829.

Museum of Fine Art

To the right of the western section of the Gran Vía, one street away, is the Parque Doña Casilda de Iturizza (named after a benefactress of the city), at the northeast end of which are the two buildings of the Museum of Art, with a collection of outstanding quality.

The older building displays work by many great European masters. Dutch and Flemish painting of the 15th-17th centuries is well represented, with such masterpieces as Quentin Matsys' ''Money- Changers'' and Dirk Bouts' ''Virgin and Child'' and works by van Dyck and Vos of the 17th Century Flemish school. Spanish painting of the 14th and 15th centuries is represented by Jaime Huguet, Bartolomé Bermejo and Pedro Serra, the 16th and 17th centuries by El Greco (''Annunciation''), Zurbarán (''Virgin and Child with St. John'', his last dated work), Velázquez and Jusepe de Ribera. There are three extraordinary portraits by Goya, the most remarkable of which is that of the poet Fernández de Moratín.

More Information:

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