On Monday 22 October 2018, a group of 15 excited Sixth Form students all arrived at Eltham College at 4am, ready to depart to Heathrow airport for our trip to Madrid. The coach journey to the airport was an interesting mixture of enthusiasm and tiredness, but after a total of around seven hours of travelling, we had arrived in Madrid.

Our first day consisted of walking around the city centre locating parks and scenery which may be interesting for photography and sketching in some very warm weather, examples of this include the ‘Temple of Debod’ and the Royal Palace. After lunch at the Mercado de San Miguel, we soon found ourselves checking into our hotel, the Hotel Mediodia, right opposite Madrid’s grand railway station. After a long day of travelling, walking and being surrounded by unknown scenery, it was safe to say everyone slept well, ready for another full day of art.

The second day involved two gallery visits. We began the day by sketching areas of Madrid before heading to our first gallery, the famous Prado, a huge building full of sculptures and paintings dating back to the 13th century. Particularly impressive were works by Antonio Maria Esquivel (1806-1857); these were large oil-based religious paintings that were fascinating. After lunch, we walked through the park to the Palacio de Cristal and its accompanying gallery. The Palacio was surrounded by luscious green trees and deep blue ponds, all extremely interesting to photograph and document in our sketchbooks.

On the third day, we visited three different galleries. Firstly, we went to the Museo Nacional Thyssen- Bornemisza. Opened in 1992, this gallery was filled with beautiful artwork and is one of the world’s foremost and most distinguished private art collections, acquired over the span of two generations. After exploring the gargantuan scale of this gallery, we headed off to our next gallery, The ICO museum. This showcased the inspiring work of Burkina Faso born architect, Diébédo Francis Kéré, who is best known for bringing cutting edge design to his home village and for his design for the Serpentine Summer Pavilion. After this, we found ourselves in the Reina Sofia. This museum houses one of the most famous contemporary art collections in the world, displaying Picasso’s iconic ‘Guernica’. We spent the next three hours exploring the buildings before taking a group photo in front of a famous work by Roy Lichtenstein.

Finally, our last day consisted of one shorter trip to view some video installations at La Casa Encendida, before setting off to buy souvenirs in the city centre. Overall Madrid was an exciting trip; one of new experiences and inspiration.

Written by: Samuel, Sixth Form