It's hard to believe, but it was almost a month ago that I went to the Prado for the first time. It was on Sunday, October 2nd. In the interest of catching up, I'll post this (probably) final entry on the Prado, and then go have some gelato. Ciao!
It's hardly surprising that I liked the work by Velasquez, El Greco, Goya and Bosch in this museum. But the stuff that really excited me was by artists I was unfamiliar with. It was that great feeling of discovering something new, re-orienting yourself after encountering something and thinking "what the hell is this?" Below is a brief list. If any of the artists (Stacey, Andrea, Bob, Karl, Julie) or art scholars (Bill) who read this journal want to add any information, it would be greatly appreciated. As it is, I'm looking forward to getting back to the States and either buying or getting some books out of the library about the following:
- Nicolas Frances (1434-1468) created a giant altar that I loved
- "San Miguel de Zafra" by an anonymous Spaniard. Huge piece, similar to depictions of St. George killing a dragon, only it was St. Michael battling demons. St. Michael is in the foreground, while around him almost like a wallpaper collaborated on by Escher and Bosch, angels and demons battle.
- Tintoretto (1519-1594) I'm sure I'll see more of his work in Italy
- Bassano (1510-1592) Used rough sketchy images, which gave the images a "soft" look. Saw more of his work today. Very dramatic faces, almost to the point of caricature. His "last supper" has so much playing out on the faces of those depicted that it reminded me of Norman Rockwell, of all people. Not subtle, but I liked his work.
- Hans Baldung-Green (1484-1545) Las Edades Y La Muerta - Death and two ladies in an odd, gothic vertically composed painting in pale beiges. Looks very contemporary and like nothing else I know of from that era (though my knowledge is pretty limited)
- Rodrigo De Osona (1464-1518) "Christo Ante Pilates" Master of the grotesque.
- Berreuguette (1450-1503) "San Pedro" Vote for Pedro? Sorry, couldn't resist. Anyway, this is crazy Catholic art at its best. Large series of paintings that depict the life and death of Saint Pedro. Appearantly he was killed by a blow to the head with an ax. His portrait, the center painting of the series, depicts him with a halo, holding a book of scripture, and an ax protruding from his head. It's crazy and a great painting.
While we're on the subject of crazy Catholic art, there are several paintings in the Prado that depict Mary, the mother of Christ, squirting people with her breast milk. I am not making this up. This is one part of my Catholic education that was skipped. When I saw the first painting, I thought "that's odd." But by the third, I knew it was a motif. A crazy one. Several of the paintings depict Mary giving San Bernardo an eyeful. Mom - is this part of the legend of San Bernardo? Did he claim to have a vision in which he was squirted by Mary's breast milk? There's also a painting by Rubens, who I was surprised to discover that I don't really like his art. Too airy fairy for my taste. Too soft. There are exceptions, one of which shows Mary in the sky, squeezing her breast and the drops of milk that shoot out become stars in the sky, mixing the mundane, the religious and the cosmic.
It's just a motif I hadn't stumbled on before. It's rare in American galleries or museums that you see paintings of Mary breast feeding the infant Christ, although in Spain they're not uncommon.
Anyone want to comment?