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About the Art in Madrid

Two of the art museums in Madrid, the Prado and the Reina Sophia, are built around the works of Spanish artists - nothing to sneeze at when you consider that these include Goya, Velasquez, El Greco, Zurbaran, Miro, Dali, and of course Picasso.

Retrato Exhibit

The Prado contains the world’s most extensive collection of Goyas, and while we were there, an exhibit of Spanish portraiture from El Greco to Picasso was on display as well. For me, the exhibit was dominated by a pair of blue Picassos. In the permanent collection, I was captivated by what I would have said was one of Claude Lorrain’s paintings. They called him Claudio Lorena!

The Reina Sophia is a collection of modern art. Its most prized possession is what many consider to be Picasso’s masterpiece, La Guernica. That one is pretty impressive, but the collection as a whole is not especially to my taste. My eyes glazed over after just about an hour.

The Thyssen-Bournemisza is another matter altogether. This once-private, super-rich collection includes works from a wide variety of schools and epochs, the common denominator being simply the highest quality. It even has a surprisingly good sampling of 19th century American art.

The special exhibit on display at the Thyssen-Bournemisza during our visit was a knock-out. A fine selection of Gauguins appeared side-by-side with the works of the artists who had most influenced him - Pisarro, Cezanne and Van Gogh, among others. It was a triply good exhibit: a first-rate showing of Gauguin, a wonderful selection of each of the other major artists, and a very intriguing illustration of the way Gauguin’s work developed.

Craig said, “Imagine. You want to be an artist, and you are faced with what those guys have done [pointing to a wall of Van Gogh and Cezanne]. What would you do? What’s left? And this guy answers with that!”

For me, the Thyssen sneaks past the Prado much the way the Orangerie steals the show from the Louvre.

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From the Weblog:
No Hablo Espaņol
About the Art in Madrid
The Spanish Portrait
The Night of the Octopus
South by Rail
On the Streets of Cordoba
Frases Utiles
Autobus a Granada
Tales of the Alhambra
A Walking Tour of Spain

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