Madrid – Prado to Churros Tuesday, 12/9/14

Walking to the Prado, we find this sculpture honoring the 75th anniversary of Spain’s National Organization for the Blind.

Then on to a full day at the Prado, the national museum with one of the world’s greatest collections of European art from the 12th – 19th centuries, and the single best collection of Spanish art – Goya, Velazquez, el Greco – plus Titian, Rubens, Tintoretto, Bosch.

Found out after taking a few, that photos are not allowed. Oops! Note the painting by Lopez of Queen Isabella, the patroness of the Prado, in the red gown, pointing to the Prado building. Double-click any photo to enlarge.

The centerpiece is Velazquez’s Las Meninas – showing maids (meninas) attending to the princess, with Velazquez himself facing the viewer and his canvas, the King & Queen barely reflected in the small mirror (the artist’s subjects?), some guy going up stairs in the back, a dog, and palace decor. Huge painting, with 10 people in it, and huge impact!

meninas-big

Goya’s most celebrated works include the two Maja paintings – one nude, one clothed.

1280px-Goya_Maja_nude  1280px-Goya_Maja_clothed

His painting of the massacre of Spanish resistance fighters by Napoleon’s troops – titled May 3rd, 1808 – may be the first painting to depict the horrors of war. And his black paintings, like Saturn Devouring his Son, are scary.

Goya May 3 1808  Francisco_de_Goya,_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo_(1819-1823)

Back outside, we see the statue of Goya, sitting above a sculpture of his Maja (if you can’t see it, click the link)

Maja sculpture

Maja sculpture

Then we see models of Velazquez’s subjects in the balconies over a souvenir shop!

On to the Thyssen – but, d’oh, our Madrid Pass had expired 2 hours earlier, so we saved the Euros (and my museum-tired feet), but saw a few things in the lobby.

Last night in Madrid, and we stumble on a mariachi band in Plaza Del Sol! Then tapas – abondigas (veal meatballs), patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy sauce), and chicken wings, followed by deep fried churros and creamy hot chocolate for dipping at Chocolateria San Gines, a local favorite since 1894. Line out the door, tables upstairs, downstairs, and outside along the streets. Yum. Saved half our churros for a cold snack the next day – but we finished all the chocolate!

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