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02 Aug 2014

Madrid, Spain, Art Day

Our summer Europe trip started the old fashioned way – flight delay and jet lag. We spent the entire first day and night in our room in Madrid including both lunch and dinner. They probably thought we were newlyweds. J

Day two, today, was devoted to art. We viewed some of the great masterpieces; first at The Prado and then Reina Sofia. Our guide Teresa was terrific. I am working with Insider’s Madrid owner Joanna Wivell for all of our sightseeing.               

Certainly I am no art expert. I am not even an art aficionado, but I do enjoy a seeing a masterpiece periodically. Today was loaded with paintings that I even recognized.

I remembered being in Madrid 50 years ago and always remembering that The Garden of Earthly Delights (Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1500) was my all time favorite painting. I couldn’t remember why though. After seeing it again, I remember. It is simply amazing. It shows the progression of sin. Teresa was capable of spending the entire day just on this one painting if need be.

We saw The Naked Maya (Goya circa 1800). It caused an obscenity fuss being a different kind of nude than the thousands that preceded it. 

The Prado’s most famous painting is probably Las Meninas (Velazquez, 1658) that shows princess Margarita and her two ladies-in-waiting as well as the artist himself with paintbrush and palette in hand.

Some others that you probably recognize are Dream (de Ribera), The Cardinal (Raphael), The Three Graces (Rubens), and Artemis (Rembrandt). They even had a special El Greco exhibition honoring his 400th birthday. 

Then it was off to Reina Sofia mainly to see Picasso’s Guernica, but while there we took in several of his works including Woman in Blue as well as many by Dali and Miro. I love many of the weird modern art pieces.

Picasso painted Guernica in 1937. It is whopping 275 square feet. No picture in a book or on the Internet can do it justice. It is the most famous painting of last century being modern art’s famous anti-war protest.

 

Picasso lent the painting to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC until democracy would be returned to Spain. It was sent to The Prado in 1981 and shown behind bomb and bullet-proof glass. Since 1992 you can see it directly from a few feet away in a special gallery at Reina Sofia.

 

It was quite a day.