Friday, August 19, 2011

The Creep Factor - Selected Works at the Prado

The Prado Museum / Museo del Prado
08/06/11 - Calle Ruiz de Alarcón, 23
With the Professor, S1 and S2 in tow, we opted for tapas rather than dinner, including: Goya’s Black Paintings, a few rooms of El Grecos, and Bosch’s utterly insane painting The Garden of Earthly Delights.  In other words, enough to live on for several weeks.

El Greco.  Let me unleash this sacrilegious thought right away.  As a child of a border town (San Diego), El Greco’s color schemes remind me of the black velvet paintings hawked in Tijuana tourist shops of the 1970s.  Even with our unformed and barely critical minds we derided those velvet paintings as tacky; for a brief moment in the 1990s they may have earned a certain ironic cachet.  But what I love about El Greco is his color, unlike anything being done at the time.  A black velvet El Greco would make my day.*

Outside the Prado: Goya the artist, Ritz the hotel
Goya. Between 1819 and 1823, he filled a large room of his house with dark, dark images meant only for his own perusal.  The 14 paintings were discovered after Goya’s death, painted directly onto the walls. The house and its contents then changed hands several times.  One owner tried to auction off the paintings in the 1870s, but found no buyers.  The paintings were finally donated to the Prado, and were transferred to canvas.  For S1 and S2, “Saturn Devouring His Son” is now seared into their brains.  And that is what art is all about.

Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.  Thank you, reference source of the lazy and undisciplined, Wikipedia: “…in no other painting does he achieve such complexity of meaning or such vivid imagery….20th-century art historians are divided as to whether the triptych's central panel is a moral warning or a panorama of paradise lost.”  Hieronymus, what more can 21st-century art historians say? 

*Not so sacrilegious after all.  From Wikipedia entry on “Black Velvet Painting,” for what it’s worth: “Black velvet paintings originate in ancient Kashmir, the homeland of the fabric. These original paintings were generally religious and portrayed the icons of the Caucasus region which were painted by Russian Orthodox priests.  Marco Polo and others introduced black velvet paintings to Western Europe, and some of these early works still hang in the Vatican Museums.” Accessed 19 August 2011.

1 comment:

  1. El Greco and Black Velvet Painting. One of my favorites is "Man with his Hand on his Chest", which is one of his more secular works although the hand does have a debated spiritual touch. Also perfect for the black velvet treatment.

    Goya, who began painting cartones (designs) for tapestries and ended up with those black paintings on his dining room wall, was a Picasso of his age in the sense he lived long enough to continue to evolve. I find his children always so endearing those they seem to be from his court painter period.

    To continue Goya trail, you must go to the Ermita San Antonio de la Florida and the Panteón de Goya. This is near the Madrid's river, formerly a trickle and currently being developed. Seriously, I don't know if the river is any grander, but I believe its surroundings are.

    For your men, if they are running to catch the train at the Ermita which has a Goya fresco in the cupola and his tomb below, lead them across the street to Casa Mingo, famous for its roasted chicken and typical Asturian, literally Green Spain in the North, cuisine, where sidra is served in typical fashion...bottle over one's head to aerate the cider which is caught in a communal glass with opposite hand at hip level. Should entertain both Sons and even the Professor. Reasonable prices and a family gathering spot on Sundays.

    Whoa...I got carried away. Love this blog though.