6 Contemporary Artists from Salamanca to Check Out

Street art in Salamancas neighbourhoods. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Street art in Salamanca's neighbourhoods. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Salamanca may be a small city, but it has a great artistic tradition. The city has produced some world-renowned contemporary artists and continues to nurture up-and-coming artistic talent. The work of Salamanca’s modern artists can be admired in the city’s many art galleries and museums, as well as on the city streets. Here are a just few of the most interesting local artists you need to know.

Loved by over 40s

Zacarías González

Museum

Probably Salamanca’s most famous modern artist, González (1923-2003) was born in the city and maintained a strong attachment to Salamanca throughout his life. But he was well known much further afield, with his paintings being exhibited across Europe and South America. He was awarded the Medalla de Oro de Salamanca (Gold Medal of Salamanca) in 1986 for his artistic achievements, and today you can see his works on display in the house where they were created; his former home in Salamanca is now open as a museum, kept just as it was during his lifetime. It is slightly off the beaten track but well worth a visit.

Ángel Mateos Bernal

Building, Museum

Museum of Concrete, Salamanca
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Born to a family of builders and stonemasons, Ángel Mateos (1931-present) started creating his artworks at an early age in the family’s workshop, using a readily available material; concrete. He had the chance to study art in Seville and Madrid but, disillusioned with academia, returned home to continue his research independently. He became known as an artist with a strong independent streak, working far from the realms of fashion and commercial art. Over the decades he won various awards for his concrete sculptures (hormigón in Spanish) which can be found throughout Spain. The last of his works is the Museum of Concrete, a building meant to represent an ants’ nest, which is now dedicated to his work. Found in his native village of Doñinos, about seven kilometers west of Salamanca, here you can get a glimpse of the works of one of Spain’s most admired sculptors.

José Manuel González Ubierna

Another self-taught Valencian artist, González (1900 – 1982) started painting at the age of seventeen and was greatly influenced by the famous Impressionist painters such as Cezanne. His work captures the Salamanca of the early twentieth century in the impressionist style, depicting long-disappeared streets, squares and houses, all bathed in the light of the different seasons and often featuring skies filled with heavy clouds, threatening a storm. You can find examples of his work on display at various museums throughout Salamanca.

Pablo S. Herrero

Salamanca, with its impeccably clean streets and grand buildings, doesn’t look much like a hotspot for graffiti artists. But Pablo S. Herrero is a Spanish artist who started the Barrios Rojos or “Red Neighbourhoods” project to bring colourful street art murals to Salamanca’s neighbourhoods of Pizarrales and Tejares. His work, which can be seen in both cities and rural areas around the world, uses the natural shape of trees, plants and forests to show the relationship between the dynamic and the static, the individual and the community.

Street art mural in Salamanca. Photo courtesy of Pablosherrero.com

Chema Alonso

University

Better known as a DJ and audio-visual artist, Chema Alonso was born in Cantalpino, Salamanca, in 1968 and studied at the faculty of fine arts at the city’s University. His paintings use bright, contrasting colours that evoke 80s disco, to explore the clumsy or less desirable side of human behaviour around the theme of the “never-ending night”. His work can be seen at the Benito Esteban Gallery, one of Salamanca’s newest exhibition spaces, which aims to give exposure to newer artists from Castilla y Leon. This is the gallery to visit if you want to see cutting-edge art from the region.

Santos Javier

Santos Javier

The Benito Esteban Gallery also hosts exhibitions from artists who work with the photographic medium, like Santos Javier. He uses layers, patterns and scaled-down images, putting his own photography through mechanical processes before printing. In his last exhibition at the gallery, Acumulaciones, he reproduced sets of photos of plates, bottles, beer barrels, tobacco packs and various other objects representative of consumption and merchandising. His work continues the most consistent tradition of pop; focusing on popular consumption and production on a large scale.

Galería Benito Esteban, Calle Santa Clara 5, Salamanca, Spain, +34 923 21 06 81

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider

Hanna

women sitting on iceberg

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?

2 years.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?

It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.

WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?

I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.