Lines with art: Line 5. The Metro's great muralists travel on the green line with Mingote and Lina Morgan
Alameda de Osuna
We begin our tour at the last "green" station in the east, Alameda de Osuna, where a large 700-metre mural pays homage to the grove of poplar trees that gives it its name. It is the work of Juan Carlos and Francisco Javier Melero and extends throughout the station from the entrance to the platforms under the title 'Treasures of the Alameda'
We now continue on to Canillejas, where the hall features the work of one of the artists who has produced the most works for Metro de Madrid, Eladio García de Santibáñez. This is an abstract ceramic mural, created in 1979, dominated by intense reds and asymmetry.
At the next station we find another abstract mural by the same artist, also from 1979. Created using stone-effect paint and cement, It shows organic forms, skeletons and different textures in grey, reminiscent of a landscape with bridges and walls, lines of streetlamps, stranded ships, sails and boats.
Like the previous two, this third mural by Eladio García de Santibáñez is also abstract. Here there is a subtle play of textures in dark tones with a horizontal axis from which lines, arcs and rays are projected in all directions. The central core is denser and more compact, showing a circle on the left.
In Pueblo Nuevo we find another artist whose work can be seen in many Madrid Metro stations, Ángel Atienza. The mural that decorates this station shows a seafaring scene, with fishing boats and oars, dominated by the blue colour of the sea, in which the profile of a large ship can be glimpsed, with its funnels and decks, and the lights and darks of the inner city.
We cross the M-30 and in Ventas, the station that leads to the bullring of the same name, we are greeted by a mural in ochre and gold tonesinspired by the world of bullfighting. In this 1989 mural José Luis Fernández depicts the silhouettes of a bull, a bullfighter and a horse in the arena, with the characteristic cape, fans, picadors and barrier of a bullring.
Diego de León
Diego de León station has two murals by Juan Márquez, both in ceramic, created in 1973. The first of these, located in the hall, is made up of various geometric shapes in red, white and blue on both sides of a horizontal line that runs through the whole mural and simulates the effect of a city reflected in the water.
In the corridor leading to L6, several large circles emerge like craters in the middle of an undulating sea in a combination of curves and movement in shades of green, blue and brown.
Núñez de Balboa
We continue our tour in Núñez de Balboa, where we gain see a work by Ángel Atienza, in this case in the vestibule leading to L9 from Plaza del Marqués de Salamanca. Created in 1983, it depicts a city around a bridge in the centre of the image, with buildings, greenery and various types of transport, including a train and a ship.
In Rubén Darío we find the work of another great artist, Antonio Mingote, who was born the same year as the Metro de Madrid, 1919. In 2019, marking with both centenaries, the station was decorated with a series of cartoons that the illustrious cartoonist dedicated to the Madrid underground throughout his career. All of them come from the ABC Museum of Drawing and Illustration and the Antonio Mingote Foundation and have been recreated in large dimensions in the station closest to the historic ABC newsroom on Calle de Serrano, where Mingote published his cartoons and drawings from 1953 until his death in 2012.
Gran Vía station, which formed part of the first section of the Metro de Madrid inaugurated more than a century ago, was completely remodelled in 2021, recovering one of its most characteristic elements, the pavilion designed by the architect Antonio Palacios which was a landmark marking the entrance to the old Metro station from 1920 onwards. The great glass and steel canopy is completely translucent, allowing light to filter in through the lift shaft. A semicircular arch crowns the building with the coat of arms of the city of Madrid, hand-carved in stone.
Down in the hall there is also a ceramic mural by Miguel Durán-Loriga Rodrigáñez depicting the original pavilion, and if we continue our descent to the second intermediate level of the station we find a small museum with the archaeological remains found during the excavation and extension of the station, including an old coat of arms of Madrid.
We reach the halfway point of the line and make a stop at Ópera station, presided over by a mural created by another artist who has collaborated with Metro de Madrid on several occasions, Esther García Ocampo. This mural, painted by in 1990, pays homage to music and depicts various musical instruments including a violin, a horn and a tambourine, protected by a large score with a treble clef.
Moreover, this station hosts the largest underground archaeological museum in Madrid, a 200 square metre space where you can see archaeological remains from the 16th and 17th centuries from the Fuente de los Caños del Peral, the Aqueduct of Amaniel and the Alcantarilla del Arenal. The visit is complemented with projections that help to understand the importance of these constructions.
In La Latina, one of our most traditional stations, a mural by architect and artist David Cárdenas pays tribute to the actress Lina Morgan, with the title 'Lina y La Latina'. The composition is made up of 2,310 pieces of painted ceramics featuring different locations of episodes from the life of the actress, who was closely linked to this neighbourhood where she was born and where she ran the Teatro La Latina.
And we close our tour of the art on L5 with a new mural by Santibáñez, abstract like those we have seen at the other end of the line. The abstract mural that presides over the main hall of Oporto station displays a disturbing, dark landscape dominated by an earthy texture.
Are you still hungry for more? Take a look at our cultural guide, where you can discover some of the most interesting art in the Metro de Madrid.