Spanish National Culture
National culture and cultural influences
Spain has played an important role at a cultural level throughout history. Its geographical position in early stages of civilization, its position and political weight from the middle ages to the end of the traditional empires age, and the cultural effervescence that has been unleashed to the work of the different industrial revolutions in the last 150 years, they offer great and important examples of culture and arts reaching the top in their respective areas.
This is clearly influenced by a strong inertia that comes from that past, when Spain was one of the most important countries in the world, promoting and/or follow the most important trends in European culture. It must be added the very valuable and influent inheritances received from cultural exchange with territories and cultures that were part of Spain in any moment of history (South America, Central America, some territories in Europe or East Asia…), as well an important flow of immigrants and emigrants in different moments of the twentieth century. These are some examples, linked with the meeting of a deeply European tradition, and the Spanish permeability that led to its social and cultural modernization in the last century.
Art, Art and More Art
Painting: since the Paleolithic era, when some of the most world important cave paintings were in Altamira, a long list of Spanish paninters has created historical masterpieces. Velázquez, Murillo, Goya, Picasso, Dalí, Miró, or Sorolla, are iconic known examples, continued today in artists such as Antonio López, or Antoni Tàpies. Both in the past and in the last hundred years, the talent of Spanish artists has had a relevant influence on pictorial trends at an international level. In each and every one of them there have been Spanish artists promoting new styles and new forms.
Literature: without forgetting “El Quijote”, by Miguel de Cervantes, Spain has had a long list of great relevance and influent writers throughout history, such as Federico García Lorca, Miguel de Unamuno, Benito Pérez Galdós, Jacinto Benavente, Juan Ramón Jiménez, or Vicente Aleixandre, adding several Nobel prizes writing only in Spanish language.
The influence of Spanish literature has always been very important, setting today a global influence given and received across all the Spanish-speaker countries. This has contributed important works and flows of influence in genres such as the novel or poetry, and trends like modernism, surrealism, avant-garde, symbolism, romance, crime novels, picaresque and a long etcetera.
Cinema: numerous artists from Spain have achieved very important milestones in their work over the years. Luis Buñuel, Luis García Berlanga, Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar, Julio Médem, or Víctor Erice, as examples of directors; besides Antonio Banderas, Javier Bardem, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey, Sara Montiel, Penélope Cruz, or Carmen Maura, in the role of actors and actresses; with an outstanding group of technical professionals who have won recognition and some of the most important international awards in production design, executive production, photography, sets, costumes, makeup, music, or special effects. Gil Parrondo, Javier Aguirresarobe and Alberto Iglesias are known examples of Spanish artists present in outstanding international projects.
Their influence come from the European tradition, and has provided an own point of view, and an author’s position that strongly links Spanish culture and universal histories.
Architecture: artists from Spain has triumphed in many places of the world through the presence of the works of renowned architects such as Antoni Gaudí, Rafael Moneo, Santiago Calatrava, or Ricardo Bofill among many others.
Fashion and design: Spanish artists have had a prominent role in the fashion world, with names like Cristóbal Balenciaga, Manuel Pertegaz, Paco Rabanne, Armand Basi, Elio Berhanyer, Jesus del Pozo, Adolfo Dominguez, Pedro del Hierro, or Manolo Blahnik,. Likewise, Spanish creativity has triumphed not only in the area of design, but also in industrial production and distribution, creating some of the most important multinationals in volume and presence in the world, such as Inditex. Its influence, linking the Spanish tradition with the Spain modernity since its entry into the European Union, and influences both haute couture and casual clothing from major brands.
Cooking: Spain has a long cooking tradition, in a country that loves food, and chefs have stood out during the 20th century for their fame and influence, as well as for having designed some of the most famous and influential dishes and trends, with the most acclaimed restaurants in the world. Juan Mari Arzak, Pedro Subijana, Martín Berasategui, José Andrés, and Ferrán Adriá are some of the exceptionally talented and notoriously professionals who have given an international influence to Spanish cuisine.
Music and Dance: Spain has traditionally offered a large number of people who have excelled in music, both classical music and modern music, including composers such as Manuel de Falla, or singers such as Plácido Domingo, Josep Carreras, or Montserrat Caballé, up to modern groups and singers of recognized international success at present; at the same time that an important development and international successes have been achieved both in classical ballet and in the development of other dance and dance modalities.
The Spanish influence has materialized through the technical, scenic and musical contributions of musicians and dancers from Celtic folk, Flamenco, and many other folk varieties across Spain, linked to the geographical and cultural variety of their territory; as well receiving a strong influence from Latin culture, and the migrants contributions. Likewise, there have traditionally been great singers and modern music groups in Pop and Rock style very influential in many Spanish-speaking countries.