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Spain and the Hispanic World Royal Academy REVIEW

Spain and the Hispanic World at the Royal Academy has come from the Hispanic Society in Manhattan, the collection of philanthropist Archer Huntington. It is an extraordinary whistlestop tour of Iberian treasures.

In the early rooms, kids will enjoy the ornate door knockers and there is a suitably scary-looking sea monster waiting to gobble Jonah on a Medieval platter. Vespucci's map of the world from 1526 is fascinating, both for the detail of some elements and the vagueness of the 'undiscovered' New World.

Perhaps the most beautiful painting of the lot is a serious looking Spanish girl of about 6 or 7 by Velazquez. In the room of Goyas look out the drawing Ay Pulgas? (Are There Fleas?)

On to the 20th century (notably no Picasso). We liked The Family of the Gypsy Bullfighter by Ignacio Zuloaga and the glorious light-filled mastery of Sorolla.

It is not an obvious family show but equally if you are interested in Spanish art, there is plenty to engage and U16s are free.

Spain and the Hispanic World is at the Royal Academy to 10 April. Tickets: £22 adults, under 16s free.

Emily Turner


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