Cantabria is world famous for its paleolithic art, but it is also home to some great art galleries and exhibition spaces, and soon to be home to the new Centro Botín.
For further information on temporary exhibitions in Cantabria, have a look at What’s On In Cantabria.
Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporaneo de Santander y Cantabria (MAS) – previously the Museo de Bellas Artes, and located in Santander, this museum contains a collection of more than 800 paintings, dating from the 16th Century onwards, 300 sculptures and 200 etchings, drawings and photographs. It has permanent and temporary exhibits, both modern and contemporary in a great space. Closed on Monday, entrance is free.
Palacio de Elsedo Museo de Arte Contemporaneo – located in the small village of Pamanes, near Lierganes, this impressive 18th century palace and chapel has the largest collection of contemporary and modern art in Northern Spain, with a range of pieces by famous Spanish artists and two small sculpture gardens in the palace grounds. Personally think this place is a real gem, not only because of its impressive collection, but also as it gives you a sneak peak into one of the many palaces in this area. Adults 6€.
Museo Diocesano – located on the main crossroads in Santillana del Mar, just at the entrance to the old town, this museum is housed in an old monastery and has more than 800 religious pieces from all over Cantabria. Adults 3€.
Centro de Arte Faro Cabo Mayor – located in the Cabo Mayor lighthouse in Santander, this small museum houses a collection of paintings (mainly seascapes) by local artist Eduardo Sanz, which really are something, I could spend hours here contemplating his paintings from afar! It also has works by other local and national artists, and a room for temporary exhibits. There is also a collection of lighthouse memorabilia. The views alone from the top floor of the gallery and the newly boardwalked Cabo Mayor itself make this worth a visit, the art inside is a bonus! Entrance is free.
And coming soon…
If you’ve arrived in Santander by ferry or otherwise, you’re probably wondering what on earth all that construction work is that’s currently causing havoc on the promenade in Santander. Well, this is soon to be the new Centro Botín (big big brother to the Fundación Botín mentioned below), a huge new arts centre and exhibition space being built by Banco Santander’s owner, Emilio Botín, in front of Banco Santander’s HQ. It’s constuction has meant the remodelling of a large swathe of Santander’s waterfront area, including the Jardines de Pereda park, the road layout (with a new tunnel being built under the new centre) and the ferry terminal (resulting in changes to the access of the ferry terminal). The centre is set to open in summer 2014, and a video explaining the whole project can be found here.
There are also many private art galleries, both in Santander and in other towns across the region, notably Santillana del Mar, San Vicente de la Barquera and Meruelo.
In addition to this, there are many exhibition spaces which regularly hold temporary art exhibitions, notably the Galeria del Este, under El Mercado del Este in the centre of Santander, and the small Palacete, on the seafront promenade next to the yacht club, the current Fundación Botín (Botin being Banco Santander’s founder, from nearby Puente San Miguel), and the Fundación Bruno Alonso, also in Santander.