It has been raining for the past 4 days, ever since we visited Toledo. Despite me buying a whole shoe store worth of shoes, I don´t actually have any sensible shoes for wet weather, or snow (not that it has been snowing). So I have been walking around Madrid with my jeans rolled
up, and thongs on. When it is raining and the temp is 11 degrees, that is mighty, #mighty# cold!!!
The Madrid visit has been very ´cultural´, compared to everything else that we have done in Spain!
Thursday we were in Madrid, and it was bucketing down with rain. So we went to the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum. Apparently it is the largest collection of European Art in private hands. Thats where I first went walking in the rain with thongs on, and it was f-f-freezing! We spent
about 3 hours there. It got really tiring as well, I like art, but sometimes you need a break in the middle! Unfortunately you had to complete the visit in one go, or else buy another ticket if you wanted to re-enter the museum. At 6euros a go, it would be expensive as well.
Friday, was scheduled to visit the Palacio Real, this huge 2800 monstrosity that a king wanted to build to beat all the other palaces in Europe. We had until 130pm to visit, and apparently I am a slow poke, because my sister kept cracking the whip and saying that I would have to move faster to remain on schedule.
Some of the rooms were pretty cool - like the porcelain room, where the entire room was made of porcelain - the walls, ceiling, everything. And they had designed it such that the seams or joins were hidden behind leaves or features in the porcelain. It was a really ugly room, but just amazing in the detail. A lot of the rooms were incredibly ugly or over the top, but I suppose that when they were built, it was what was in fashion at the time. Similar to how shiny stainless steel appliances and glass backed kitchens are all the rage now.
Anyway, I felt as though it was a lightening fast visit, and I didn´t get to really look at the rooms (or appreciate their ugliness). It was almost as though it was a chore that I had to complete. I´d walk in, take a picture of the sign explaining about the room (not even read it), then take a picture of the room, maybe an element that the sign had just highlighted, and then walk back out again.
After lunch (reheated pasta leftover from last night), went down the road to visit the Museum de Sofia Reina, which has the largest collection of modern art in Spain. That was quite a large museum as well, but I enjoyed it a whole lot more than I enjoyed the Thyssen musem on Thursday. I think I like #some# modern art, with a bit of a tendency towards sculpture
(Classical sculpture I can take it or leave it).
I saw Picasso´s ¨´Guernica¨ artwork though, a huge 3.5 by 7m wide thing that he got commissioned to paint for some expo or exhibition in Paris in 1936, about the time that the Spanish Civil war broke out. That was #the# artwork that a lot of people had come to see, and there was a crowd about 5 deep around it. I have yet to see the Mona Lisa, but I think it will be worse!
What was even more interesting though, was a set of photos that someone had taken as he actually painted, and you could see the development of the painting, and how he had changed objects and people in it around, and how it suddenly meant a whole something else.
Finally on Sunday, I took advantage of the free day to visit the Prado Museum. This time we prioritised & noted down the artists that we wanted to see, and only went in to see those rooms. They had a fantastic temporary exhibition that ended that day, that used IR and reflectometry to work out how the artists had constructed the painted, underneath all those layers of paint. So some had used charcoal, and some had used a metal tipped object to score the wood underneath,
before painting 'within the lines'. Others must have drawn a sketch up beforehand, and then enlarged it using a grid system. You could also see the way they had originally planned the painting, and maybe even changed the direction that the subject was looking in, or hadn't
painted the dog in, in the end. Fascinating!
I am in Paris now, but will need a few days of non-museums to recover, before heading to the Lourve.