Pablo Picasso. Toro echado, 1957


  • Produced in collaboration with Musée national Picasso-Paris, this is the first exhibition of this reach and ambition to explore the influence of Iberian art on Picasso, as exemplified through a selection of masterpieces from the Musée’s holdings and from the Louvre’s collection of Iberian art, one of the most important in the world.
  • It will also includes important loans from the heirs of Pablo Picasso and from major Spanish museums. Curated by Cécile Godefroy, with Roberto Ontañón as associate curator, it also features contributions from the world’s leading experts in Iberian art.
  • The year’s exhibition programme also includes the first major exhibition in Spain by Thomas Demand. Initially scheduled for 2020 and now reprogrammed for 2021, Paper World will show previously unseen photographs and films staged in a unique setting based on complex architectures and bespoke wallpaper.
  • The programme is rounded off with recently opened exhibitions — Art and Architecture: A Dialogue and Outlooks on Art — as well as the 26th iteration of Itinerarios, an inside view of the work being produced by a new generation of contemporary artists.

The centrepiece of Centro Botín’s exhibition programme for 2021 is the first major exhibition to explore the influence of Iberian art on Picasso’s work, showing, for the first time in Spain, masterpieces from the Louvre’s collection of Iberian art, one of the most important of its kind in the world.

With the exhibition Picasso Ibero, produced in collaboration with Musée national Picasso-Paris and scheduled to open at the beginning of May, Fundación Botín’s art centre in Santander continues its ongoing focus on less well-known aspects of the work of the grandmasters of modern art, following its shows of the work of Joan Miró and Alexander Calder. Likewise, the show also seeks to popularize the art of the Iberian peoples among a much wider audience, thanks to the largest display of Iberian art ever brought together and putting it in relation with the work of Picasso.

Centro Botín will also open “Paper World”, an exhibition by Thomas Demand that could not be held this year due to the pandemic, providing continuity to its focus on the work of internationally renowned artists while fostering their relationship with younger artists though the foundation’s visual arts workshops, which the German artist is scheduled to lead.

According to Benjamin Weil, artistic director of Centro Botín, “this exhibition exemplifies Centro Botín’s interest in offering the people of Santander and Cantabria a chance to contemplate works by artists which, otherwise, could only be seen in big capital cities, thus contributing to enriching the art scene nationwide”. The exhibition by Thomas Demand will be the first major show by the artist in Spain, and with it Centro Botín will continue to explore the conjunction between art and architecture, a central concern in Demand’s work.

The exhibition programme for 2021 is completed with the 26th edition of Itinerarios, presented to the public at the end of this year, as well as the recently opened exhibitions of the collection — Architecture into Art: A Dialogue and Outlooks on Art — and the permanent exhibitions Portraits: Essence and Expression featuring works generously on loan from Jaime Botín, a board member of the Fundación Botín, and Joan Miró Sculptures, a long-term loan by Successió Miró.



1 May 2021 – 12 September 2021. Room 2

Curator: Cécile Godefroy

Associate curator: Roberto Ontañón

With essential academic support from top international experts in Iberian art – Teresa Chapa Brunet, Hélène Le Meaux, Alicia Rodero Riaza and Rubí Sanz Gamo-, coordinated by Pierre Rouillard.

Picasso Ibero is the first exhibition of this ambition to explore the influence of Iberian art on the work of Picasso, as exemplified in a selection of masterpieces from the Louvre’s collection of Iberian art, one of the most important in the world. Seen for the first time in Spain thanks to this exhibition, the show also features loans from the Picasso family, as well as works from the Museo Picasso de Málaga, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. The works of Iberian art also come from Spain’s National Archaeology Museum as well as from museums in Jaén, Albacete, Elche and Valencia, among others.

The mandate of Picasso Ibero is to examine the wealth of this fertile dialogue which ranges from the Iberian period, through the crucial developments that led Picasso from his pink period to Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, all the way to works that resonate, formally or conceptually, with the major themes of Iberian art, its characteristics and practices.

This will be the first time to bring together such a large number of archaeological artefacts with the purpose of tracing through them the diversity of Iberian art, both through large stone sculptures as well as painted ceramic and bronze cultural objects. All these works will be presented in relation with Picasso, illustrating the many existing connections.

Produced in collaboration with Musée national Picasso-Paris, and with the exceptional support of the artist’s family, the exhibition also includes works from public and private collections that, taken together, offer a thorough overview of works by the artist, from his youth until his final years. In addition, this show offers an opportunity to reflect on the possible influences of Iberian art on the work of Picasso and his contemporaries, or on how the discovery of autochthonous art, contemporaneous with the questioning of different forms of academicism, helped to shape a unique identity and artistic language.

*The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Musée national Picasso-Paris 


9 October 2021 – 6 March 2022. Room 2

Curator: Udo Kittelmann, member of the Fundación Botín’s Visual Arts Advisory Committee

Thomas Demand is known for his large-format photographs of highly realistic paper and cardboard models of interiors and landscapes. If at first glance the photographs seem to be of actual habitable spaces, as we come closer we realise that these are artificially created scenes. His most striking works are those based on images taken from the media, often representing events loaded with political significance or topical relevance. With their suggestion of a possible human presence, the extreme realism of their artificiality and their provocative themes, Demand’s works not only attract the viewer to an illusion but also highlight the role of photography in its creation and cultivation. Indeed, to further insist on this illusory condition, once the artist has photographed his paper and cardboard models, he destroys them.

The artist’s first major exhibition in Spain, it comprises a selection of works in an original setting conceived specifically for this room through complex architectures and wallpaper made expressly by the artist to host photographs, many never seen before, and films.


13 November 2020. Dates subject to change in 2021. Room 1

Curated by: Benjamin Weil, artistic director of Centro Botín

Outlooks on Art is a juxtaposition of three thematic exhibitions offering different and simultaneous perspectives on some of works from the Fundación Botín collection.

The exhibition format wishes to offer three concurrent points of view, in a more intimate fashion. At once, presenting artworks whose underlying concerns resonate with the exhibition on the second floor proves equally rewarding. In these first “outlooks”, the exhibition rooms focus on Painting —an interesting opportunity to approach it from a different yet complementary outlook— as well as Series —referring to how narrative unfolds in the display of contiguous images— and Art and Architecture — a space conceived on this occasion as a prolongation of the exhibition Art and Architecture: A Dialogue on the second floor.


10 October 2020 – 14 March 2021. Room 1

Curated by: Benjamin Weil, artistic director of Centro Botín

Taking its cue from the Renzo Piano building that has become an instant landmark from the moment of its inauguration, this exhibition explores the reciprocal influences art and architecture may have on each other, whether from a conceptual or formal standpoint. It surveys the relationship artists maintain with the exhibition space and offers their reflections on how architecture also shapes human lives and structures social interaction.

Architecture into Art: A Dialogue includes a selection of works by artists who have led a Fundación Botín Visual Arts Workshop and exhibited their works in Santander, along with pieces created by recipients of the foundation’s Visual Arts Grant. Here we will have a chance to see works by Leonor Antunes, Miroslaw Balka, Carlos Bunga, Martin Creed, Patricia Dauder, Fernanda Fragateiro, Carlos Garaicoa, Carsten Höller, Julie Mehretu, Jorge Méndez-Blake, Muntadas, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Sara Ramo, Anri Sala and Julião Sarmento, artists for whom architecture is one of their core concerns and in some cases even conditioning the formal definition of their practices.


12 November 2021 to first half of 2022. Room 1

Curator: Benjamin Weil, artistic director of the Centro Botín

This exhibition series showcases the production of a whole new generation of contemporary artists. Itinerarios XXVI brings together work by the 8 recipients of Fundación Botín’s 26th annual Visual Arts Grants: Olga Balema (Lviv, Ukraine, 1984), Eli Cortiñas (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1976), June Crespo (Pamplona, 1982), Mario Espliego (Guadalajara, 1983), Antonio Hervás (Barcelona, 1981), Salomé Lamas (Lisbon, Portugal, 1987), Anna Moreno (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona, 1984) and Bruno Pacheco (Lisbon, Portugal, 1974).

Taken as a whole, the artworks on view in this new edition of Itinerarios afford a compelling overview of the concerns and formal experimentation being carried out by a new generation of artists, to whom Fundación Botín offers a unique opportunity to deploy their bold, new projects.


Permanent exhibition. Room 1.

A set of eight major artworks from the personal collection of Jaime Botín, patron of the Fundación Botín, are on permanent exhibition at the Centro Botín in Santander. Chronologically, they span and condense almost the entire history of twentieth-century painting, from Half-length Figure, created by Isidre Nonell in 1907, through to Self-Portrait with Injured Eye, painted by Francis Bacon in 1972. The other works on show in this room are Femme espagnole (1917) by Henri Matisse; Harlequin (1918) by Juan Gris; Beach at Valencia (1908) by Joaquín Sorolla; Woman in Red (1931) by Daniel Vázquez Díaz; The Constructor of Masks (1944) by José Gutiérrez Solana, and Portrait of My Mother (1942) by Pancho Cossío.


Permanent exhibition. Gallery E, Room 1. (Visible from outside)

Following the great success of the exhibition Joan Miró: Sculptures 1928-1982, which the Centro Botín put on in 2018, this exceptional artist is a continuing presence in Santander thanks to the long-term loan by Successió Miró to the Fundación Botín of two of his sculptures: Femme Monument (1970), one of the first pieces that the artist made in the Fonderia Artística Bonvicini foundry in Verona, and Souvenir de la Tour Eiffel (1977), a three-metre-high sculpture made in the Fundició Parellada foundry in Barcelona.



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