The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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6:19pm on Friday, 21st June, 2013:



I went to the Prado this morning. I was last in Madrid over 25 years ago and enjoyed it then, so I went again. It contains two of my favourite paintings: Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights and Goya's Saturn Eating his Children. The Prado is heavy on portraiture, which if it's good always makes me feel melancholy: if I get the sense that the person in the portrait looks alive, with a personality, then I invariably feel a sense of loss that they're long dead. The large nunber of Velazquez canvases certainly had that effect (except for the ones of the Hapsburgs, who are so inbred as not to look real), but there were Titians, Coelloes, Van der Weydens and Lopezes that did it too, plus the occasional Goya where he wasn't trying to flatter his subject, and some one-offs by Botticelli, Tintoretto, Van Dyck and Anguissola.

The last time I was in Madrid, we went to an annexe of the Prado which was showing Guernica. When we left, I saw this absolutely stunning full-length portrait of a woman but my wife wanted to leave so I couldn't go back and find out who it was by or of. I was hoping to see it again today, but I didn't. I can see it clearly in my mind, and it strikes me as being in the style of Raimundo de Madrazo (who had some brilliant portraits on display). I'm no closer to identifying it, though.

After the Prado, I went to the Queen Sofia Museum, which features modern art and is the current location for Guernica. It had a Dali exhibition on, but apparently my asking for a ticket that would give me entry to it was no sufficient to gain me a ticket that would give me entry to it, so I missed that. Still, it was worth it for Guernica.

Do not go to Madrid Airport expecting to pick up some last-minute gifts to take home. The shopping here is rubbish...

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Copyright © 2013 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).