8 May 2009
I am writing this on a high speed train from Madrid to Sevilla (AVS), watching the rolling flatness of central Spain speed by.
In one evening, we were able to see Picasso's Guernica, Dali's The Great Masturbator, Lumiere's Employees Leaving a Factory (1896), Velazquez' Self Portrait with the Meninas of Felix II, Durer's Portrait of the unknown man and Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights and the Haywain. That must amount to something.
I finally concede that there is a difference to looking at a great work of art in a book or even a high def image to standing in front of the real thing. Contemplating the Guernica- there is so much in the painting that just doesn't register in a reproduction, especially gray on gray. The delicate and harsh brush strokes of Dali need to be looked at with your nose at a distance of six inches from the naughty bits. So up yours- Baudrillard and Walter Benjamin!
The Museum of Reina Sophia has a series of photographs of Picasso's painting in various stages of completion, and the many morphs it went through, fascinating. As are the several paintings called Postscripts to Guernica. Picasso's Hombre with Goat is also a delight leading to a wistful wish- the Great Hombre himself should have made more sculptures. The twisting goat about to spring out of the man's grasp (who holds the beast almost in a wrestlers grip) is reminiscent of the twisting Laocoon.
Nothing quite beats taking the long(ish) walk from the Atocha past the Botanical Gardens and reaching the Prado to find that the entry was Gratuitas.
Our gracious landlady at the Hostal Luz is surely the reason the late Wren and the equally deceased Martin added 'onomatopoeia' in their chapter on Figures of Speech in their unlamented text on Grammar. She spoke no English and made up for it, quite successfully communicating in a mixture of machine gun Castillian and a wide variety of sound effects (Phut-pht-pht-pht!! bole to turn right)