Casa de Velázquez is at once a centre for artistic creation and a research centre. It is this that gives it a unique place among the five French Schools abroad run by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and Innovation: the French School in Athens, the French School in Rome, the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in El Cairo and the French Middle East School. In fact Casa de Velázquez is unusual in that since its foundation in 1928 it has possessed an artistic section (Académie de France à Madrid) along with a scientific section—the École des hautes études hispaniques et ibériques (EHEHI).
A public institution serving scientific, cultural and professional purposes, Casa de Velázquez's mission is to carry on creative activities and research relating to the arts, languages, literatures and societies of Spain and Iberian and Ibero-American countries. Its tasks also include assisting in the training of artists, researchers and teacher/researchers and taking part in the development of artistic and scientific exchanges between France and the other countries concerned.
At the EHEHI, Casa de Velàzquez selects for one year periods, renewable for one further year, pre- or post-doctoral researchers working in the area of Human and Social Sciences in fields relevant to the geographical areas of interest. The artists—recruited for the same period—are accommodated at the residence. Any disciplines—painting, sculpture, engraving, architecture, musical composition, cinema and photography—may be represented. Casa de Velázquez also grants short-term scholarships (for artists, researchers and pre- and post-doctoral students).
Casa de Velázquez has a main building housing its administrative and technical services, the library and thirty-three rooms given over to scholars, participants in the institution's activities and passing guests. There are also seventeen individual workshops for artists, most of them in the garden area, plus a number of technical rooms (music studio, engraving workshop, photographic laboratory). There is a computer room freely available to members, scholars and guests.
Casa de Velázquez boasts a richly-stocked library (with over 100,000 volumes and 1700 periodicals), a publications section (which annually publishes around fifteen books and a journal in two parts) and a major programme of artistic (exhibitions, concerts) and scientific events which are organised every year in conjunction with other French, Spanish and European institutions.