Today, King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain travelled to the Industrial port of Spain – Bilbao and then to Vitoria in Basque Country. Surrounded by green mountains, the de facto capital of Basque Country, Bilbao is dominated by its skyscraper-filled downtown. The city is famed for the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum.
Upon arrival in the city, The Royal couple received a warm traditional Aurresku welcome. Aurresku is a popular Basque dance with spirited acrobatic acts, performed by the artists dressed up in traditional attire.
The King and Queen enjoying the dance performances.
The first stop of the day was the Guggenheim Museum. Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and funded by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Guggenheim Museum is home to many modern and contemporary art pieces. The museum was opened to the public in 1997 with an exhibition of 250 contemporary works of art.
The building of the museum is hailed as one of the ‘signal moments of architectural culture’ as it received acclaimed from academicians, critics and the general public equally. Today, the museum is the city’s one of the best income sources and the most popular tourist attraction in the city. In its first three years, almost 4 million tourists visited the museum, helping to generate about €500 million in economic activity.
From the moment of its creation, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has worked to assemble a collection of significant works of art from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. Some of the pieces that now comprise this collection stand out as icons of the contemporary era.
During the visit, Felipe and Letizia visited an exhibition ‘In Real Life’ by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson at the Guggenheim Museum. Born in 1967, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson puts the experience of viewers at the centre of his art.
Olafur Eliasson: In real life brings the attention to some of today’s most urgent issues through around 30 artworks created by the artists between 1990 and today: sculptures, photographs, paintings, and installations that play with reflections and shifting colours and challenge the way society navigate and perceive the environment. An art piece named “Your vision expires (2002)” by Olafur Eliasson.
Through materials such as moss, water, glacial ice, fog, light, or reflective metals, Eliasson encourages viewers to reflect upon their understanding and perception of the physical world that surrounds them. The exhibition is organized by the Tate Modern in collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Felipe and Letizia were briefed about the exhibition by the exhibition curator Lucía Aguerre.
Queen Letizia observed Olafur Eliasson’s work “Belleza (1993)”, which consists of ducts that emit a fine mist in the direction of the lightning.
The Royal Couple toured the museum and saw some really interesting art collections. Among them were “Espacio de Maquetas (2003)”, “Your uncertain shadow (colour-2010)”, the “Lichen Wall (1994)”. The museum also runs Learning Through Art (LTA), an artist residency program that cultivates student creativity by designing sustained, process-oriented art projects that support learning across the curriculum. The program sends experienced teaching artists into New York City public schools, where they collaborate with classroom teachers to develop and facilitate art projects integrated into the school curriculum. During the visit, King Felipe and Queen Letizia met with the students participating in the LTA program.
The second stop was the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.
The Royal couple were welcomed by the group of visitors and locals outside the Museum.
King and Queen toured the Fine Art Museum – another tourist attraction of the city.
The King and Queen held a brief meeting with the business representatives from the Basque Country at the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. The Business community informed the royal couple about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the businesses and socio-economic environment of the town.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia leaving the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.
Then the couple travelled to the neighbouring town Vitoria where they visited San Prudencio Foundation.
The Royal couple had a small walkabout around the San Prudencio Foundation building and were greeted by the public. The San Prudencio Foundation has been playing an active role in the betterment of the society during the pandemic.
The foundation collected 1,72,000 Euros during the pandemic that were used to buy PPE and medical supplies and 40,000 euros were donated to the Red Cross and Caritas for projects to help families who are suffering a situation of greatest need.
At the foundation headquarter, Felipe and Letizia held with the members of the board of trustees and the board of directors of the San Prudencio Foundation.
Next, they toured the musculoskeletal treatment room of the San Prudencio Foundation and met with the staff working there.
The visit was marked with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.
For the visit, Queen Letizia brought back one of her ‘the most beautiful’ summer outfits. She was wearing Zara Floral print Midi Dress that she first wore in October 2017 during a Palace Audience.
The $89.90 Chiffon dress features a gathered round neckline, smock detailing at waistline with cuff styled sleeves.
A look at Letizia wearing the dress in 2017.
Queen Letizia teamed up her style with gold bamboo earrings that are still unidentified and
her signature Karen Hallam ring.