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Art & Architecture in Granada

May 09, 2018
by Megan Vande Linde
When someone says the word “art,” what comes to mind? Do you immediately envision the light, breezy colors of Monet or Degas, majestic white marble Roman sculptures, or an Andy Warhol piece that leaves you dizzy and mesmerized? If you use your time abroad well, with a bit of luck you can see all of this and more. It’s no secret that in Europe there is an endless amount of art to take in, but if you pay attention you’ll begin notice each city, with its different personality, architecture, and the paintings and sculptures it holds, is a work of art as well.
 Wood paneling and traditional Islamic styled plaster
engravings inside of the Sephardic Museum of Toledo.
 Some portions of the Wall of Toledo date back to Roman times,
and others, such as this gate, clearly show the
influence of the city's Islamic period.

In Toledo, you’ll walk down streets where El Greco himself once walked. Here you can see a mix of architecture from the Roman and Visigoth, Islamic, and Catholic periods, all swirled together in one city. You can even visit El Greco’s “house,” a model of the sort of home El Greco may have had, and view some of his most famous pieces, including The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.
 An incredible, huge, light exhibit
at the Guggenheim Bilbao!
 One of the walls of the famous Guggenheim museum.
 Modern art sculptures like this dot the city of Bilbao,
adding to the city's already artsy charm.

In Bilbao, you can visit one of the most famous modern art museums in the world, the Guggenheim. The building alone is stunning, a strange geometric structure made completely of sheet metal, and the art is equally strange and awe-inspiring. Inside, you can view paintings, sculptures, light displays, and much more (some of which you will understand and love, and in all honesty some which will simply leave you confused). Bilbao as a city, too, is art. There are sculptures scattered throughout parks and on many street corners, abstractly designed bridges criss-cross the river bisecting the city, and Downtown the metro stops are large, oblong, glass bubbles emerging out of the ground.
 The original arches still stand inside the
Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, some of
which are over 1,000 years old.
 The white elegance of the entrance to the
cathedral contrasted against the Islamic
styled portion of the building.

In Cordoba, you can visit what is likely the clearest example of architectural contrasts in Spain. The Mosque-Cathedral here is a seemingly never-ending sea of red and white double arches, mosaics depicting portions of the Quran and phrases from poems, and gold and silver overlay. Then, suddenly, from the middle of the mosque erupts a cathedral. It’s such an unexpected transition, it leaves you speechless. In it’s pure Renaissance style, the grand scale of the cathedral starkly contrasts against the Islamic architecture.

These are just three examples of cities with overwhelming quantities of art sure to impress you. There are countless more within Spain, and that's only one of the many countries here to explore! What you’ll quickly learn while abroad is that art isn’t limited to paintings and sculptures. Each city you visit is a little work of art in and of itself.

Megan V.L. is the Spring 2018 MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Political Science & Spanish at University of Tennessee.

Megan Vande Linde is the Fall 2017, Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Tennessee.
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