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Spanish royals will visit San Antonio to mark its tricentennial and celebrate landmark art exhibit

Spanish royals will visit San Antonio to mark its tricentennial and celebrate landmark art exhibit
Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia attend an Armed Forces Day parade in Logrono, Spain on May 26. The pair will come to San Antonio to celebrate the city's tricentennial. (David Aguilar/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)

Art lovers and royal-watchers can catch a double dose of their favorite pastimes in San Antonio next week.

The king and queen of Spain are scheduled to visit June 16 to 18 as part of a year-long celebration of the city’s tricentennial celebration, SA300. Their packed itinerary includes opening two major art exhibits and getting acquainted with the city and its historic sites.

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One of the exhibits, "Spain: 500 Years of Spanish Painting From the Museums of Madrid," includes art never before seen in the United States. The exhibit will run through Sept. 16 at the San Antonio Museum of Art and feature artists such as El Greco, Velázquez and Goya.

The art ranges from "devotional works that demonstrate the dominance of the Catholic Church at the end of the Middle Ages to cosmopolitan paintings from the dawn of the twentieth century," said William Keyse Rudolph, chief curator, on the museum's website.

The exhibit is a coup for the city, because the paintings will be seen only in San Antonio before returning to Madrid.

This will be the first visit to the city for King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia. Before heading to San Antonio, they are scheduled to visit New Orleans, which also is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year.

While in San Antonio, the royals will tour sites that reflect the region's shared history with Spain, which dates back to the city's founding by families from Spain's Canary Islands.

Included in the tour will be the Spanish Governor's Palace and Mission San Jose, a UNESCO World Site that includes San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, which is made up of five missions, including the famous 1836 battleground, the Alamo.

In addition to opening the art exhibit, the king and queen will inaugurate "Designing America: Spain’s Imprint in the U.S.," an interactive exhibition that explores Spain’s architectural and cultural legacy in the U.S. It will open to the public June 18.

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