6/5/10: Madrid, Spain
I love the idea of going to museums. I love the idea of going to museums almost as much as I love the idea of going to the beach – and boy, do I love the idea of going to the beach. The sand, the sun, the waves! Then you actually get to the beach – and the sand is so itchy, the sun is too hot, and the waves seem to exist solely for the purpose of smashing your face in and forcing as much saltwater down your throat as possible. What’s the moral of the story? Museums: they’re just like the beach. When you think about it, you think – the culture, the highbrow-ness, the art! Then you actually get to the museum. You’re constantly lost in a section where all the paintings are self-portraits of old, bearded men, it’s more crowded than the Jersey shore, you don’t understand any of the paintings and you really don’t understand any of the sculptures.
Yesterday we went to the Prado. We got there at 6pm (otherwise known as free entrance time), which was exactly the time everyone else got there, which means we had to stand in a really really long line. Luckily, the line moved pretty quickly.
It’s hard to appreciate an art museum when you don’t know anything about the art, so I picked out three paintings I remembered from my high school Art History class (Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, Goya’s The Third of May 1808 and Velazquez’s Las Meninas) and saved the information from Wikipedia onto my iPod so I could tell Kevin all about them. I don’t think it was a success.
Today, we went to the Reina Sofia. If the Prado is like the classic and stately Met, then the Reina Sofia is like the Met’s hip younger sister, the MoMA. Mindful of yesterday’s non-success when I tried to educate the two of us about art, I didn’t do any research for the Sofia.
The Sofia had works by more modern artists – most notably Spanish greats Picasso and Dali – which were fun to look at because even if you don’t get the art, it’s still pretty visually interesting. Some of the other stuff though, just completely blew my mind. Not in a good way, but in a “This is art?” kind of way. I belong to the school of thought that if I could have done it in ten minutes, then it’s not art. There were a couple of times that I wandered around a room and couldn’t decide if it was supposed to be an exhibit or if it was just a room with a bunch of bookshelves. Does this make me uncultured?
The crown jewel of the Sofia is Picasso’s Guernica, an anti-war piece. (Hahaha, when I first wrote the previous sentence, I wrote “anti-war peace” by accident. Funny.) You can tell it’s the pride and joy of the museum because it’s guarded by two people and the room it’s in is the only place in the museum where you can’t take pictures.
All in all, I’d have to say that I very much enjoyed our two museum visits. It was free, it was air-conditioned, and now I know what Guernica looks like! How cultured am I?
Picture of the Day: Looks like someone’s been to Easter Island.