Photo Diary Part 3: Madrid

I was really excited about this part of my trip, as I have never been to Spain before.  I’ve heard so many good things about Madrid from friends who have been, from the architecture to the food to the art, and I was not disappointed!  I think of the entire trip, my favourite art moments were in Madrid this time around, as I have been to Rome and London before, so those were a little bit like revisiting old friends.  And so here are some pictures from my very brief stay in Madrid.

MAY 18, 2012 – MADRID

A monument to Goya, with his paintings as sculptures beneath
Row, row, row yer boat, at Retiro Park


MAY 19, 2012

Meringue inside the Mercado de San Miguel
Outside the Mercado de San Miguel
Beautiful architecture all over Madrid
More ornate buildings


I was spoilt for art in Madrid. At the Museo del Prado, I was completely awestruck by the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, especially The Garden of Earthly Delights, which must have been one of the highlights of this Europe trip for me. I think my friend, Jenny G, described it best when she said, “It’s like Where’s Waldo, but sexy.”  I mean, who doesn’t love a good sexy Where’s Waldo, am I right? The triptych is amazing, with so much detail and so much to look at, your eye doesn’t know where to rest.  And even the outside panels are actually painted too – something you can’t see from viewing photos of the piece alone, as it’s not just a 2D image but actually a 3D object.

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights, Oil on wood triptych, c. 1490-1510
The outer panels painted in grisaille

One of my favourite things about visiting museums in Europe is finally getting to see the paintings that I studied in textbooks and slides. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the size of the works, whether they are huge paintings or tiny miniatures. Nothing compares to seeing them in real life. Velasquez’s Las Meninas was one of these paintings, that I had studied so much in my undergrad days, and I was finally able to see the real thing at the Prado.

Diego Velazquez - Las Meninas, Oil on canvas, 1656-1657

And lastly, I was able to visit the Museo Reina Sofía, where the highlight of the beautiful museum was Picasso’s Guernica.  The sheer size of the work and the powerful imagery were amazing.  The black and white photographs, taken by Dora Maar, on the opposite wall showed the progression of the painting, and these were also an interesting look at how the piece evolved as Picasso worked on it.  It’s always intriguing to see an insider’s view of how a piece of art comes to be.

Pablo Picasso - Guernica, Oil on canvas, 1937
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