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 Painting with a landscape of Madrid in the background from the Retiro Park

The Spanish cities that inspired Dalí, Picasso, Miró, El Greco and Velázquez


Sometimes, you walk through the streets of a city and can’t help but stop to take a photo to capture the beauty of the place. Many artists have felt the same urge. In fact, there are cities in Spain which can be visited following in the footsteps of some of them. 

Figueres and Dalí

“In this privileged place, the real and the sublime almost touch,” Dalí said of his beloved Empordà (Girona), a beautiful region of Catalonia whose landscapes were fundamental to his work. This can be seen in Figueres, a city with the biggest surrealist object in the world: the Dalí Theatre-Museum.

Courtyard in the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres

Malaga and Picasso

The Mediterranean atmosphere inspired the work of Picasso from his birth. The port of Malaga which he painted in one of his first oil paintings may have changed, but the sunsets in the south of Spain are still marvellous. Equally marvellous is the atmosphere you can take in on the terraces dotted around this city and the paintings by its local artist which can be enjoyed at the Picasso Museum of Malaga.  

Malaga Port

Mallorca and Miró

“In some places, you can still find the freshness of the first days of creation”, said the wonderful artist Joan Miró when referring to Mallorca. A phrase which is still absolutely true nowadays. The light, colour and nature which inspired him are still very present on the whole island, and also in Palma, where the Pilar and Joan Miró foundation is situated.

Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation

Toledo and El Greco

When El Greco arrived in Toledo in 1577, its labyrinthine streets were nothing like those of Venice or Rome, where he used to live. This contrast inspired him to immortalise the place, such as in the famous “View and map of Toledo”. This can be seen in the museum dedicated to the artist, located in this city which has more than earned its place as a World Heritage site.

Detail of the painting ‘View of Toledo’ by El Greco.

Madrid and Velázquez

Despite being born in Seville, Velázquez painted the majority of his pieces in Madrid. He first worked as a court painter for the Count-Duke of Olivares and then also for King Philip IV. The majority of his most famous paintings, such as “Las Meninas”, can be seen at the Prado Museum.

Statue of Velazquez outside the Prado Museum in Madrid