Art Historians in Madrid
Wednesday 27 November 2013
A group of art historians and artists, accompanied by Dr Bird and Mr Bennett visited Madrid in November in the hope of acquiring a finer appreciation of some of the world’s most renowned artists and their beguiling masterpieces.
Arriving on Friday afternoon, the first visit was to the Prado, the best art museum in the world, to see paintings by Bosch, Titian, Rubens, Velazquez, Goya and many others.
Saturday morning was also spent in the Prado, and girls commented that that was still not long enough.
In the Prado the painting which impressed me most was ‘Las Meninas’ by Velazquez. It shows the princess who is wearing a white dress. In the painting perhaps she is 6 or 7 years old but when she was around 20 she ate mud and died. She was addicted to mud because she believed it would make her skin white.
Confronting the work of Velazquez through gaping at a computer screen just simply could not be equated with the presence it exuded in reality. ‘Las Meninas’ has always been a painting that has captured my admiration – the very sight of it ensured that our voyage to Madrid was undoubtedly worth it!
After that we went to the Royal Academy to see where Spanish painters trained and their collection of great works of art, then to a convent of an enclosed order where the twenty resident nuns never leave and go barefoot all the time. Girls had never been anywhere like that before, and marvelled at the artwork and religious objects that surrounded them. We didn’t see any nuns though. Then we went to the Reina Sofia modern art museum where we saw Picasso’s Guernika.
On Sunday we spent the morning in the Royal Palace, with really spectacular ceiling frescoes of flying angels and other figures in heavenly skies, a room entirely of porcelain and wonderful objects.
|All the rooms were beautifully decorated with exquisite detail. The most exotic room is the Porcelain Room with its large collection of porcelain produced by the Royal Factory of El Buen Retiro. Charles III was the king who had this room created. There is a beautiful Throne Room which comes from the reign of Charles III, which is the most impressive room. Tiepolo painted the ceiling fresco in 1766 and represents the Allegory of the Spanish Monarchy, with personifications of the different Spanish possessions around the world. The rock crystal chandeliers were bought in Venice in 1780. In 1650 Velazquez brought from Rome the bronze lions beside the throne dais.
– Teni Adeola, Lower Sixth
After that there was time to explore the city (with umbrellas) and we arrived back after midnight. It was a great trip.