Spanish version


Circulo de Bellas Artes - Fine Arts Association

 

History

Circulo de Bellas Artes-Fine Arts AssociationIn 1880 a group of artists decided to create an association where they could promote and sell their works of art. This was the origin of the Circulo de Bellas Artes . In April of 1880 the association started with its own headquarter at calle Barquillo. Until 1926 they changed it eight times.

Currently the Circulo has members all over the world. To become a member you just have to pay a small amount which allows you access to all its facilities.

The Building

The permanent headquarter was built by the architect Antonio Palacios in 1919.

Antonio Palacios (1874 - 1945) is one of the most important Spanish architects of the XXth century. Among his buildings is the current Town Hall.

Circulo de Bellas Artes covers 15.000 m2 and is 56m high. ceiling cafeteria

Circulo became very famous because of the carnival balls that were held there. Unfortunately they were suspended during the Civil War and afterwards during Franco´s regime.

In 1984 they started again, although now they not only for members, but for everybofy lucky enough to get a entrance-ticket.

Ground floor

When we enter the building, the first thing that attracts our attention is the wonderful staircase, which really is the 'heart' of the building.

When the building was being constructed, as frequently happens, monetary problems arose. That is why we find big pieces of marble on the first floors of the staircase. As we go up, these pieces become smaller, as they are less expensive.

Until 1939, under the ground floor was a swimming-pool which could be seen through a glss-floor. Jump from Lefkada

On this floor is the famous cafeteria, called 'The Fishbowl' - 'La Pecera'. It got its name from the impression one has of the place when looking at it from the opposite side of the street.

It is open from 09:00 until 01:00 and until 03:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. The ceiling is the original one.

In the middle of the cafeteria is a sculpture by Moisés Huerta, ' Salto de Leucade '. - 'Jump from Lefkada'

Second Floor

Here we have the famous ball room. On the top of the ceiling we can see the lower part ofBall room the 'Little Fountain' which is located on the fourth floor.

On the right side of the room is a theater.

Third Floor

On this floor we have the library, open only for members or investigators. It is very small and has only 10 tables.

Fourth Floor

Just after entering, we can see the 'Little Fountain' placed in the middle of a big entrance-hall. It was made by Antonio Palacios and its lower part can be seen in the ball-room.

Here was the old casino, located in the column-hall. Even though it was forbidden to bet, everybody knew that a lot of money was spent every day in this room.

Billiards roomThere are 18 columns.

Every year, on World Book Day, the 'Quixote' is read by differetn people during the whole day. This event is broadcasted by the Circulo Radio Station.

Antoher important room on this floor is dedicated to billiards. There are 2 tables for pool and nine for three-cushion billiards. All tables have a special device so that they have the same temperature. In the 90's a World Championship was held here.

 

Fifth Floor

The old restaurant used to be on this floor. It was divided into three sections, one for members, one for guests and one for women. Women were not allowed as members until 1960.

Now there are about 60 offices that can be rented. There are also four meeting rooms.Lithography studio

The radio station is also on this floor.

Sixth Floor

This floor is only for members. Here we find studios for lithography, painting, drawing and dance.

They are all exactly like they were in the 1929's. All have a lot of natural light, sometimes from big windows and sometimes from the ceiling.

The idea is that all artists may feel as if they were in their own studios, at home. During the year, many people work here and exchange experiences.

On the staircase we can see two metal doors. They belong to the old wodden lift, which was removed in the 1960's for security reasons.

Terrace Roof

Tower on the terraceThe terrace roof is the seventh floor of the building. There is a tower which has two more floors. There used to be more studios for the painters, but now it is closed.

On the terrace the organisation celebrates many concerts.

The visit to the terrace is a 'must' when being in Madrid. You will enjoy wonderful views of the city, specially on a sunny day.

The statue of Minerva already was in Antonio Palacios' project, but could not be carried out because of lack of money. This statue was designed by Juan Luis Vasallo , it weighs 3.000 kilos and is six and a half meters high. In 1966 it was raised by three cranes.

 

 

cafeteria
Cafeteria
Jump from Lefkada
Staircase
Staircase
Ball room with lower part of 'Little Fountain'
Little Fountain
Lithography studio
View from lithography studio
Staircase with old lift doors
Minerva statue on the terrace
Minerva statue

 

 

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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