Contained in the city of Alicante on the Southern Spanish Coast is an institution that is a centre for culture in the region. Art and music combine to provide the inhabitants and visitors with delightful exhibitions of art and classical music concerts.
The Museo Bellas Artes Gravina, aka MUBAG, is near the old Ayuntamiento in Alicante on the Calle Gravina. It is housed in a charming and expertly converted 18thC merchant's house. Recently, myself and some members and wags of the Las Chumberas Art Group took ourselves off to have a look. The permanent collection is housed on the first floor and above that is a mezzanine floor where temporary exhibitions are held. On this occasion we were going to give the permanent collection the once over.
In all fairness, Spanish provincial collections can be loaded with deeply conservative, heavy catholic art. And who can blame them; it is a fundamental element of Spanish culture. However, in this particular collection there are lots and lots of truly stunning works by little known modern Spanish artists. There are several works in particular that stand out as spectacular.
So in we go! To mention every painting would be tedious and time consuming and impair your enjoyment as you see them for the first time but there are a few gems here. Almost every genre is represented here in this jewel like art gallery. It requires and deserves that you take your time and savour the atmosphere. It also has to be said that MUBAG is one of the most sympathetically lit galleries comparable to some of the bigger establishments like the Prado in Madrid or the National Gallery in London. Inside this gallery you will find a snapshot of Spanish life before, during and after the Franco period. Dictatorships are notorious for disliking modern art but here in MUBAG you will find one or two good examples of impressionism and expressionism along with more conservative, traditional art.
The MUBAG is also noted for one other feature. They regularly hold classical music recitals inside the main foyer on weekday evenings.
Performed by 'La Diputacion con el Conservatorio Superior de Musica Oscar Espala de Alicante'. Essentially, students from University of Alicante Department of Music. We have been to some outstanding recitals recently. One of the most memorable was in March this year by the 'Departmento de Piano' where we listened to some very beautiful Rachmaninoff and Chopin. The acoustics are good and the students are truly marvellous. MUBAG is an excellent local resource well worth visiting either for the art or the music. Entrance is free, but check the web for times and dates.
Like most museums in Spain they are closed on Monday and they do siesta. There are toilets and the counter staff will guard your bag and coat. There is a small shop and the museum sells beautiful prints of some of the major works at very reasonable prices indeed. The staff are helpful and cheerful but their English is very limited. There is a lift to all floors with wheelchair access. There is no printed information in English except on the website.