circulo de bellas artes madrid 2

Circulo de Bellas Artes and Valle-Inclán

Do you know that Circulo de Bellas Artes is the best rooftop in Madrid? And that there is a walk commemorating the play “Bohemian lights” by Valle-Inclán?

There a famous building in Atocha 42 just at the beginning of Gran Vía, the most important shopping street in Madrid. That building is Círculo de Bellas Artes, an association promoting culture and arts in every variety as well as sciences, literature and philosophy.

This building from 1926 was conceived by the architect Antonio Palacios in this fantistic monumental and eclectic style. Nowadays it hosts 1200 works between paintings, prints and scultures.

circulo de bellas artes madrid

However, the biggest tourist attraction is its fantastic roof terrace. From 56 meters high, this priviledged viewpoint in Madrid allows you to take some of the most famous photographies in Madrid. The price is 4 euros and they close at 2. am in summertime, 3 in the weekends.

Another highlights is Minerva, the roman goddess that looms over Madrid. This statue is also the symbol of the association since its very foundation.

Authors like Jacinto Benavente (literature Nobel prize in 1922), Federico García Lorca, Picasso himself as a student or Ramón del Valle-Inclán were some of the regular faces that used to meet here. The king Alfonso XIII inaugurated the building with an exhibition of Ignacio Zuloaga.

And as we mentioned Valle-Inclán, among all the activities taking place in the Circulo (not so long ago they had “Van Gogh Alive”), they organise “La noche de Max Estrella” the last weekend of every March. To be more precise, this Saturday 30th.

Let’s get in context. The most famous play by Valle-Inclán (1866-1936) is “Bohemian Lights” (1924) and Max Estrella is the main character, a blind and miserable poet that takes a journey on that Madrid in the 20’s, criticising the situation in Spain. That was the birth of “esperpento”, a sort of degenerated tragedy in which grotesque situation and exageration abound, as well as a very particular way of using language and deforming reality.

The activity consists in a tour through Madrid where an actor, academist or even a politician reads a part of the play or talks about the author in a “bohemian” way twisting the language and using some kind of poetic speech. Many of the stops are parts of “Bohemian Lights”. Some of them even have a commemoration like this one. There is one in Calle Álvarez Gato, Calle Mayor 84, chocolatería (churros) San Ginés with a big painting that shows Valle-Inclán having a stroll, or the Apple Store in Puerta del Sol.

callejon del gato

The tour last from 6pm to 10pm and there are even food tastings at some stops. Here’s the link with the complete program

If you want to find out more about the Círculo de Bellas Artes, don’t hesitate and join our Free Tour Madrid. If you prefere la bohemia and literature, we also offer a tour in Spanish in the District of the Letters (Barrio de las Letras) Free Tour Madrid Barrio de las Letras where you’ll meet Valle-Inclán and his unique personality.