Spain was the birthplace of universally celebrated writers such as Miguel de Cervantes, Juan Ramón Jiménez and Federico García Lorca, to mention but a few, and it is still home to a multitude of outstanding authors. It of course follows that Spain is also the ninth largest publishing market in the world. Eduardo Mendoza, Arturo Pérez-Reverte—the contemporary Spanish author with the most translated works—Almudena Grandes, Manuel Rivas, Javier Marías and Carlos Ruiz Zafón are just some of the Spanish novelists who have enjoyed worldwide success, not to mention international best-sellers by Spaniards, such as The Time in Between by María Dueñas and the Baztán Trilogy by Dolores Redondo.
Artistry has been running through the veins of the Spanish people for more than 35,000 years. In the Paleolithic, our ancestors painted the Cave of Altamira in Cantabria, which is considered the Sistine Chapel of cave painting. Since then, the list of Spanish artists whose masterpieces can be viewed in museums around the world has grown and grown. Velázquez, Zurbarán, Murillo, Goya, Dalí, Picasso, Miró and Sorolla are iconic names for any art lover, as are contemporary artists such as Antonio López, Miquel Barceló and Antoni Tàpies, to mention but a few.
Flamenco, ballet and contemporary dance are all part of the dance culture in Spain. Our country has world-class classical and contemporary dancers such as Víctor Ullate, Nacho Duato, Tamara Rojo, Ángel Corella, Lucía Lacarra and Igor Yebra. Flamenco, which was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010, is one of the greatest treasures of Spanish culture and perhaps the most internationally renowned Spanish art form. One of the most internationally celebrated Spanish flamenco dancers is Sara Baras, who is also an Honorary Ambassador for Marca España. Last but by no means least, the Spanish National Ballet is the great exponent of Spanish dance all over the world.
Through their talent and creativity, Spaniards have left an unmistakable mark on the history of film. In today’s world, many Spanish professionals are enjoying enormous success in Spain and abroad, both in front of and behind the cameras. On the filmmaking side, one cannot avoid mentioning Luis Buñuel, who was a pioneer, and who was followed by many other Spanish talents such as Pedro Almodóvar, Álex de la Iglesia, Julio Medem, Alejandro Amenábar, Juan Antonio Bayona and Isabel Coixet. Spanish actors are also global film stars, including Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Victoria Abril, Carmen Maura and Eduardo Noriega.
Spain has always had magnificent musicians who have transcended borders. We have soloists such as Raphael, who continues to sell out concerts, Joaquín Sabina, Joan Manuel Serrat, Julio Iglesias, Luz Casal, Alejandro Sanz, Enrique Iglesias, Manolo García, David Bisbal and Fito, among many others. We also have hit groups such as Vetusta Morla, Russian Red, Amaral, M Clan, Extremoduro, Fangoria and Maldita Nerea.
In opera, and classical music in general, Spain has a number of well-established stars, including our most internationally renowned tenor Plácido Domingo, along with Montserrat Caballé, Josep Carreras, Ainhoa Arteta, María Bayo and José Bros. But we also have new talents such as Celso Albelo, Simón Órfila and Mariola Cantarero. Of our music directors and composers, three names in particular stand out: Inma Shara, one of the most internationally celebrated conductors of classical music and recipient of a European Excellence Award, and two young composers and conductors, Fernando Velázquez and Lucas Vidal, whose soundtracks have charmed audiences of millions and captivated Hollywood.
Spanish creators have triumphed worldwide with their high quality original designs. Since the industry emerged, Spain has been at the forefront of design thanks to the talents of Cristóbal Balenciaga, Manuel Pertegaz, Paco Rabanne, Armand Basi and Elio Berhanyer. Their legacy has been further cemented by Jesus del Pozo, Adolfo Domínguez and Pedro del Hierro, who have continued to internationalize Spanish fashion. More recently, Amaya Arzuaga, Purificación García, Manuel Mota (Pronovias), Juan Duyos, Juanjo Oliva, Devota & Lomba, David Delfín and Custo Dalmau have all dazzled on catwalks the world over. Young stars such as Roberto Etxeberria, Álex Vidal, Jorge Acuña, María Escoté, Nacho Aguayo and Palomo Spain reflect the promising future for that the Spanish fashion industry. In footwear, we cannot fail to mention Manolo Blahnik, from the Canary Islands, who is one of the most prestigious footwear designers in the world.
Spanish creativity also extends into architecture thanks to our spirit of enterprise and innovation. Major projects and initiatives abroad mix cutting-edge technique and design to promote Spanish workmanship. Rafael Moneo, Juan Herreros, Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra, Antonio Cruz, Antonio Ortiz and Santiago Calatrava have all designed iconic architecture which can be seen around the world.
Spanish cuisine is full of creativity. The word ‘tapa’ does not need to be translated to be understood anywhere in the world. In fact, these little delicacies are some of the best ambassadors of Spain in the world. Spanish cuisine is a rich mix, all the way from traditional recipes to ground-breaking gourmet food. Juan Mari Arzak, Pedro Subijana, Martín Berasategui, Ferrán Adriá, the Roca brothers, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Carme Ruscalleda, Sergi Arola, Daviz Muñoz, Paco Roncero, Elena Arzak, Eneko Atxa, Susi Díaz, Ángel León and Dani García are just some of the chefs who have taken Spanish cuisine to the highest level.