So today we went to the Thyssen art museum, to the National Library's museum, to the Archeological Museum, and then to the ABC Serrano shopping mall and then out for dinner.
The three first things all involved, again, my purse going through the X-ray machines. I swear, as soon as I get back, I am going to call up a friendly health physicist and ask if I can get my purse tested. It will be, oh, so spectacularly ironic if it picked up a higher radiation dose in two weeks holidaying in Spain than it did in a year and a half working at a nuclear reactor, but I am willing to bet in euros that is the case.
The Thyssen Art Museum picks up where the Prado and Reina Sofia left off; it has many of the same authors, including Goya (very little Joan Miro, though.)
First, we saw the special exhibition on of Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, and the Renaissance workshops. The second-tier Renaissance masters: not Leonardo, Raphael, or Michelangelo, Tintoretto or Titian, but Botticelli, Ghirlandaio (whom I hear of for the first time), Perugino, and Verocchio. Particularly fascinatingv was the room giving closeups of a particular painting under radiographic, ultraviolet, and materials analyses, showing how it had been corrected and repainted.chernobylred
, it has one Caravaggio that I noticed, the painting of Saint Catherine of Alexandria
. It has a lovely collection of Max Ernst (my favourite was "33 girls in search of a white butterfly
"; try to find all 33 girls and the butterfly. No, I don't know the answer.) As well, some lesser-known Picassos that support my thesis that they guy could draw well if he felt like it, some lovely Impressionists, some works by Kandinsky, Chagall, Picabia, even, I think, Malevich himself.
One painting that made me stop was Eugene Delacroix's The Duke of Orleans Showing His Lover To The Duke of Burgundy
(potentially NSFW): I kept wondering why, and what the lover thought of this --- did she lie back passively, knowing there was no escape? Or was she actually an opportunistic woman in the style of Empress Catherine I (who rose from Polish peasant's wife to Empress of Russia through pretty much the definition of sleeping her way to the top, although she was brilliant as well)? Did she love the Duke of Orleans but wish he wouldn't do that? Did the Duke of Burgundy coerce him into doing it, or was it of his own volition?
Thyssen also has a beautiful collection of Dutch Old Masters. The paintings of Frans Hals are particularly lovely. I liked the Dutch Renaissance; it seems somehow more peaceful in every way than the Italian one.
(I should spend some time in Holland: peace, coffee shops, bicycles, logicians...)
I also saw a Vernet knowingly for the first time. The thing that popped into mind with my associative memory, was Sherlock Holmes saying, in one of the Russian TV series episodes which mixed and matched script from various stories actually, that his grandmother was related to Vernet. This amused me.
One thing I have to say for Thyssen --- their gift shop employs an amazing jeweller. There were several lines of jewelry based on famous paintings in the collection, and darn if I didn't want some of it. Alas, no, no frivolity for me. But le sigh.
The rest will be next post.