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Sangria celebrations beckon for 2007
By Wang Shanshan (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-15 06:33

China will see in 2007 with sangria when it bids arrivederci to "The Year of Italy."

Spanish artists, chefs, singers and supermodels will be jetting out for "The Year of Spain in China" next year.

It follows the Italian year of 2006, and 2005's French theme.

"One will soon find that the Spanish possess a unique charm among the Europeans," the Spanish Cultural Minister Carmen Calvo Poyato told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

"The spirit of Spain parades in a mix of cultures the Spanish culture bridges European, Asian and Latin American civilizations."

Among the scheduled delegation of hundreds of artworks and dozens of performances, the highlight will be "Guernika" by Picasso, considered by many to be the greatest painting of the 20th century.

Picasso took the aerial bombing of the Basque town of Guernika-Lumo during the Spanish Civil War as inspiration when he created the piece in 1937. After travelling around the world, it resides at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.

More than 40 of Picasso's best works will be taken from museums in his hometown of Malaga, and also from Madrid and Barcelona, to go on display in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in a solo show of the artist next year, according to Gregorio Laso, press and information counsellor of the Spanish Embassy.

Along with Picasso will come works of Goya, Greco and Velazques. Art of the three masters will feature in an exhibition of collections of the El Prado Museum in Madrid. Rated as one of the best art galleries in Europe, the museum has accumulated more than 9,000 pieces of classical art in its extensive collection since it opened in 1819 as one of the world's earliest public museums.

Besides art, there will be culinary delights as well. Spanish chefs will serve cured ham mousse, duck breasts, peach tarts, squid rings, and cheese ice cream with honey.

Ahead of the cross-continent event, the Spanish will open its 46th Cervantes Institute in the world this June in Beijing. About 80,000 people learn the Spanish language at the institutes around the world each year.

(China Daily 02/15/2006 page2)

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