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Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting, in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

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Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

One of the Temporary exhibitions most anticipated this year is “Balenciaga and Spanish painting" which you can see in the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum until September 22.

Cristóbal Balenciaga He is possibly one of the most admired and influential fashion designers of all time.

This exhibition offers you the link between 16th and 20th century painting, with the creations of the Basque designer.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

It's the first great exhibition dedicated to Balenciaga that is presented in Madrid in almost 50 years, and it brings together 90 designs along with an important collection of paintings by Spanish artists as well known as El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Goya, Madrazo, Zuloaga or Miranda Carreno.

These were an important source of inspiration for Balenciaga And in this exhibition you can see the influence that the works of these Spanish artists marked in their designs.

All information in detail

  • Balenciaga, his life
  • ORGANIZE YOUR TRIP
  • What to see in the Balenciaga exhibition
  • Exhibition schedules Balenciaga and Spanish painting
  • USEFUL TIPS for your TRIP

Balenciaga, his life

Of humble origin, Cristóbal Balenciaga was born in 1895 in Guipúzcoa, specifically in Ghetto; son of a fisherman who died at sea and a mother seamstress, from whom the designer took from his childhood his great love of sewing.

With only thirteen years, the grandmother of the Queen Fabiola of Belgium that summer on Ghetto he was interested in learning that the young man had Balenciaga.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

He decided to pose a challenge and handed him a piece of cloth and one of his most exclusive dresses; The goal was to copy it and demonstrate his talent.

The result surprised the marquise so much that she became her patron.

Since then his success did not stop growing by dressing the aristocracy and the Spanish royal family.

When the Civil war, Balenciaga He closed the stores he had in Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastián and moved to Paris, opening his first workshop in the French capital in 1937.

Balenciaga He had a great command of sewing, as well as the fabrics he worked with. He preferred to work with fabrics with weight and decorate them with hand embroidery, rhinestones and sequins.

His ability to create volumes and shapes surprised, the finish was perfect and if he was not satisfied with the result, he disassembled the dress.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

He created designs for his best clients without testing, and his client list of the high society It was very extensive, with characters like Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo or Grace Kelly.

Balenciaga designed wedding dresses Queen Fabiola of Belgium and of the Duchess of Cádiz, Carmen Martínez-Bordiú in 1972, four years after he retired and that was his last work.

Christian Dior said "With the fabrics, designers do what we can, but Balenciaga does what he wants«. It was certainly the king of haute couture.

Balenciaga is passionate about the great masters of Spanish painting, especially Velázquez and of Goya.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Man of reserved character and very rigorous in his work, in addition to being tremendously discreet, an indispensable thing in the world of the aristocracy in which he moved, he was not a friend of the multitudes or of the mundane life and his private life I carry with much discretion.

The only approach he had to pret-a-porter they were the uniforms he designed for the hostesses of air France.

He retired in 1968, being considered the true father of haute couture, and France in gratitude named him Knight of the Legion of Honor.

He returned to Spain and ended up living in Altea, where he dedicated himself to painting.

Balenciaga passed away in Javea at the age of 77, and was buried in his hometown Ghetto, where you can now visit the Balenciaga museum with a collection of about 1,200 pieces.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Currently the Balenciaga brand is detached from the figure of Cristóbal Balenciaga, since the rights of the same were purchased from their heirs.

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A phrase from the designer himself who defines his work is ¨orn good designer must be, architect for employers, sculptor for form, painter for drawings, musician for harmony and philosopher for measurement ”.

What to see in the Balenciaga exhibition

 The sample is made through six rooms, following a chronological itinerary through the paintings. In the last one you will see the projection of a video about the designer.

In total there are 56 paintings that accompany the 90 designs of Balenciaga.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

The designs come from Cristóbal Balenciaga museum from Getaria, the Costume museum from Madrid, the disseny museum from Barcelona and some private collections, both national and international.

You will be able to observe the link between the painting and the designs of the great dressmaker, with chromatic connections, as well as in the shapes and volumes.

The exhibition pays homage to the color black, which was the fetish color of the designer.

It also allows you to see art from a different point of view, observing painters as creators and fashion transmitters of their time.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

We tell you a little what you are going to see in each of the sections.

Balenciaga and art

You will start by seeing three pictures that come from Prado Museum, two of Goya and one of Velázquez.

You can see the duel of a spectacular evening dress and blue silk capelin with the mantle of the Immaculate conception from Murillo.

A set of red dress and jacket in dialogue with the box Goya, Cardinal Don Luis María de Borbón y Vallabriga.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Balenciaga and El Greco

The influence of El Greco It is important in his work and the exhibition shows you a night coat in black silk velvet and a ruched collar that reminds us of the shape of the goal of Portrait of a gentleman from El Greco.

Next, you will see several works of religious theme that accompany dresses of intense color, in pink, yellow, green and blue, that remind us of the color palette with which El Greco he painted mantles and dresses of Virgins.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Spanish painting by Corte

In this room there are three types of works.

First, there are those related to the black color which became fashionable throughout Europe at the time of Philip II, and of which Balenciaga He made his own interpretation, giving it light and intensifying the tones.

In this room you will see, among other sets, the comparison made between an impressive satin evening dress, combining black and ivory with a portrait of the VI Countess of Miranda.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Still life It is one of the most recurring themes in painting.

When Balenciaga Arrive in Paris, get in touch with the artisans and creators of the most important fabrics of the time, creating fabulous dresses integrating in their designs buttons, flowers or feathers, all very beautiful and cheerful, and it will be difficult for you to decide which one you like best.

Also, drawing inspiration from the collection of historical clothing he possessed, in which ornamental wealth was the most significant, Balenciaga incorporated embroidery In many of his creations.

Here you can see, among others, the ceremony dress from the collection of María de las Nieves Mora and Aragón, which is paired with a portrait of Ana de Austrito.

Balenciaga and Francisco de Zurbarán

For many, the Extremaduran painter is considered one of the first fashion designers because of the fabulous representation he made of the fabrics and the movement of the fabrics he obtained in the paintings.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

In this section of the Balenciaga exhibition you will see the dress she wore Fabiola de Mora y Aragón when he married him King Baudouin of Belgium.

Balenciaga and Francisco de Goya

Goya was another of the key painters in the creations of Balenciaga.

The color management and how the painter transformed the shapes into tonal spots influenced the Basque designer to create beautiful chromatic harmonies.

The picture of the Queen Maria Luisa with a fool, paired with an evening dress made of light green satin with pearls and beads, is one of the sets that mark this section. 


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Balenciaga and the painters of the 19th and 20th centuries

The daily life that the designer led in his youth, as well as the regional and popular aesthetics of Spain, undoubtedly marked the work of Balenciaga.

Contemporary artists like Ignacio Zuloaga, which he frequently visited at the time in San Sebastián, also influenced his designs.

It is really curious to compare the evening dress puffed in red taffeta with the picture portrait of María del Rosario de Silva y Gurtubay, Duchess of Alba, work of the Basque artist.

In sum, an essential exhibition both if you visit Madrid, or if you live in the capital.


Balenciaga Exhibition and Spanish painting in Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Exhibition schedules Balenciaga and Spanish painting

The Visiting hours of the Balengiaga exhibition and Spanish painting at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum they are, from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. until September 7, closing at 7 p.m. in the rest of September.

On Mondays the exhibition is closed to visitors.

Balenciaga exhibition ticket prices

The Ticket prices to visit the Balenciaga exhibition They are, generally, 13 euros, the reduced one, 9 euros, and it is free for children under 18, unemployed and people with disabilities.

Here you can buy tickets in advance to your visit of the exhibition.

As complementary activities we tell you that on September 19 a day is celebrated to deepen the figure of the famous couturier and its link with Spanish painting from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

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