Bringing art to life – at sea!

When it came to constructing Galicia’s onboard experience, many things came easily. Sumptuous Spanish food, regionally inspired décor, modern design, cutting edge technology. But our team wanted something more.

Art Consultant, Kimberly Poppe explains: “We were originally looking for an interesting angle for the C-Club Lounge, but what we discovered was something that unfolded into a great story, which we just had to share.”

She continues to explain that the subject of Las Meninas was first presented to her and Galicia’s Strategy Director, Catherine Querné, in the form of an article discussing an original painting by Spanish master, Diego Velázquez from 1656. 

In the painting, named Las Meninas, or ‘ladies in waiting’ there are a collection of distinctive figures, three of which, a young princess and her two aides, wear wide hooped skirts. A silhouette that has become iconic in Spanish culture, studied and reinterpreted over and over by many artists, including Picasso and Dali.

Image courtesy of Madrid Meninas Gallery

From these many interpretations, Kimberly quickly discovered artist, Antonio Azzato, who led an art project in Madrid, creating with other artists, celebrities and brands, a life-size street gallery of Meninas – much like many cities in the UK have done with animals.

“Finding these was the starting point” says Kimberly, who soon found herself gripped in an online auction for the previous year’s 1.8 metre Menina statues. “We really liked the idea of bringing these iconic but fun symbols of Spain ‘from the streets to the seas’ and with all proceeds going to charity, it was an easy decision to make.” 

The first of the statues, our red Menina ‘En Las Aguas’ (In the Waters) by Ouka Leele (pictured above) was destined for the C-Club Lounge, where she would sit alongside a canvas of the original Velázquez painting, alongside prints of some of Picasso's work and 20 smaller Meninas statuettes by different artists.

The second, ‘Rockera’ by Miguel Angel Craviotto (pictured below), was initially planned for the Sun Deck. “But we didn’t think she’d last long up there!” explains Kimberly. Then came Catherine’s idea of creating for her “a little house” where she can be enjoyed, and the original painting celebrated. And so the House of las Meninas was born.

Image courtesy of Madrid Meninas Gallery

But as Brittany Ferries Entertainment Manager, and joint co-ordinator of the project, Leonie Cluett explains, “This is no normal art gallery. We wanted to give all our passengers a unique experience and opportunity to discover and understand what is truly a fascinating painting.” 

From written and interactive analysis to games and a (digital) meeting with Velázquez himself, the House of Las Meninas is an immersive space, uncovering some of the painting’s secrets, as well as displaying some of its interpretations throughout the years, including two of Picasso’s 58, which he created in just four days!

“This space not only uncovers some of the mysteries of Spain’s most famous paintings, it also helps you understand the whole concept/identity (behind) the ship, Galicia herself. One symbol in particular links the painting and therefore the Menina, to the ship’s name, art displays onboard as well as its destination… All the clues are in the House of Las Meninas!” Leonie Cluett, Brittany Ferries Entertainment Manager. 

The House of Las Meninas is located on deck 8 and is free to visit during your crossing. 

Meet Diego Velázquez as he reveals some secrets behind his own masterpiece.