Thursday, September 06, 2007

august 1 the prado

Madrid was eerily quiet the two days we were there. They told us it was because everyone who can leaves the city in August. There were no lines at the Prado.
The Prado is the largest art gallery in the world. It houses about 8600 paintings but only displays less than 2000 because of lack of space! We spent three and a half hours there and it wasn't nearly enough time, I felt, to even scratch the surface! I wish I hadn't spent quite so much time with Goya so I could have seen more Velasquez. Las Meninas (above) is Velasquez' masterpiece. It is enormous and incredibly impressive. It is breathtaking. The pictures I've seen of it in no way do it justice.
A little gripe: All of the labels and descriptions of the art work are in Spanish. Only Spanish--no English to be seen. We did have a handheld audioguide in English from which we learned many interesting details, but it only covered selected paintings. I can read Spanish, but probably most visitors to the Prado can't. It would be a courtesy to non-Spanish speakers to provide descriptions in English. Is Spain becoming anti-English like her northern neighbor?
It's a strange perspective you get after visiting the Prado. Other museums pale in comparison. We stood in line a very long time to get into the Picasso museum in Barcelona and it seemed only so-so after seeing the Prado (though I'm sure the Louvre and Rijks would impress.) The Prado experience was the highlight for me of the time we spent in cities. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Days later I was already scheming on how to get back! J mentioned that he may have to return to Madrid in the spring and I exclaimed, "Yes! I can't wait to see the Prado again!" He rolled his eyes.


athena said...

wow! no line at the prado? lucky you. i noticed that about the museums in madrid too (about there being no english). i didn't mind though.

Julie said...

I would LOVE to see something like that. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'll just have to take some hot Spanish guy along. I'm sure I can find one.

ave said...

I have always liked that painting, the little girl seems sweet yet purposeful.

Auntie Lee said...

ALL of the Dutch leave in August. There are no ques, no traffic and only tourists in the city.

Sometimes at church there are only 5 or 6 people.

You can even put court processes off in August by saying your going on vacation. It is a holy word here. Only the American nationals seem to be perplexed about it but they enjoy the quiet.