Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Prado, part II

I arrived in Madrid yesterday and checked into the same hostal I had used before. I had returned to Madrid to catch a flight today to Rome (where I have arrived safe and sound, but that will be the subject of another posting). It was around 5:30pm by the time I got settled in Madrid, which left the big question: what to do now? I wanted to take it easy, and there wasn t much in the city that I felt that I had skipped on my previous visit. I checked my guidebook and saw that the Prado closed at 7:00, which would give me a little over an hour by the time I got there. Hmmmm. I decided it would be worth going, even for an hour, just to look at some of those paintings again. Plus I wanted to insure that my sister Julie and my friend Bob really hate me.

While there, a group dressed as people from some of Velasquez' paintings paraded by. This means they were dressed like early 17th century royalty. Not only dressed, but playing the parts to the hilt. The young girl, who led the procession was wearing one of those dresses that goes out about a mile from each hip, caught my eye and gave me a royal head nod. I nodded back, and later regretted that I didn't have the presence of mind to bow. She was followed by a Philip IV, who was jolly with his group, but gave me, the commoner, a haughty nod. I returned with a respectful nod.

Then they were gone, having quickly ascended the nearby steps. The only other person who had seen them in the hallway was a security guard who disappeared before I had a chance to ask her what the hell that was about.

The Prado was much less crowded late in the day. At one point, I had Goya's black paintings all to myself. It was a few minutes before anyone else entered the room. You could spend time with the paintings without being subconsciously hurried along by other patrons. I got to study Bosch's work some more. The miserable security guard, who had yelled at me on a previous visit for using a videocamera, was there. And she was asleep in her chair! I desperately wanted to take a picture of her napping, then send it to the Prado and get her fired. But I decided that Art brought out my better nature, so I passed on the opportunity.

Best of all, when I got to the Prado, I discovered (from a friendly security guard) that their hours had changed. The museum closes at 8:00pm, not 7:00.

I will write more about the work in the museum, particularly the stuff that I hadn't heard of that took my by surprise. More to come...

5 comments:

Molly said...

Oh, yay, I'm so happy you're in Italy! (Incredibly jealous, but happy!) I meant to ask you if you'll at all follow the road (I think it's Rt. 202 if memory serves) between Sienna and Florence. If so, there's a lovely vineyard (hmm...duh...but I mean I've stayed at this one so I know it by name) where you can stay at a reasonable price, wander the property, and have a wonderful meal in their very rustic, warm, and homey kitchen/restaurant. The villa and family name is Montagliari. Hope you can stop by, but if not I know many wonderful experiences await you anyway!

Iva said...

I have to say that I must echo Molly's thoughts about being incredibly jealous, but happy for you. I hope you just love it, John, it is such a fantastic place and there is just so much to see there. Have a good time...John's so-o-o lucky!
Mom

Julie said...

You know what, John? I REALLY hate you!!!( happy?) I happen to be doing a painting of Mike H. in which instead of sitting on a desk at Sue's I put him on the black sheets from Velasquez' "Venus at her Mirror" ( which is in London)
Were they acting out "Las Meninas"?

mrs. collins said...

Goya's black paintings-lucky you.
Maybe the costumed people were a Spanish version of Russian Ark...

the hanged man said...

Julie asked:
Were they acting out "Las Meninas"?

No, they seemed to be based on the individual portraits of Philip's family that are in the Prado. In other words, no dog, no dwarf.

Molly - I'm going via trains and buses, one of the disadvantages of which is that you miss great little places outside of cities and towns. Although your description of it makes renting a car and staying the night very tempting.

Today I went to the Vatican Museum. I intended to stay for a couple of hours, and spent the whole day. The ceiling of the Sisteen Chapel? It might actually be better than its reputation says...