Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Prado and the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

I never thought I would be an art museum person.
They always seemed too static to hold my attention for long.
Since moving to Europe I am an art museum convert.

In Madrid we stayed down the street from the famous Prado Art Museum. We went to the Prado a year ago when we first visited Madrid. It did not go well that first time. Connor melted down in the security line. We willed ourselves into the first gallery but Connor's wails were piercing so we gave up and admitted art museum defeat. Who would have guessed we would have had the opportunity to see Madrid for a second time?!? And therefore another attempt at The Prado!!! We again went during the free admission evening hours. Connor displayed more patience this time and the two of us had a lovely mother-daughter date at the Prado. I was surprised at how much of the Prado focused on portraits. I would guess at least three quarters of the exhibits were royal portraits. Not exactly subjects and settings that reach out and grab me. But I did fall head over heels for the El Greco paintings. Most of his works depicted Biblical scenes. There was unique life and motion in them.
El Greco's color and detail were magnetic.
My very favorite was The Adoration of the Shepherds. It is like baby Jesus is staring at you while this gorgeous gathering of angels and shepherds praise their newborn King.
I wish these were bigger e-images because honestly the work in person was magnificent. Especially at Christmas!
We visited the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, also a few blocks away. It is a world class modern art museum. Even the exterior was funky and made a statement. I went in a bit skeptical but quickly got into the modern groove and found the place fascinating. I ended up liking this place even better than the Prado.When you think about it there are a lot of Spanish modern artists - Miro, Dali, and Picasso.The works throw you off balance. They certainly are not serene and calming. They make you a little uncomfortable.
The most famous piece in Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is Picasso's Guernica. Depicting the emotions of war.
Art, art, art. What an enduring way to communicate. Yep - Madrid confirmed it - we are art museum converts.

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