November 2, 2008

So many much art!

A few hours later I went back to “museum row” and headed to the Prado Art Museum as it is also free on Sundays (but from 5-8). It seems a lot of other people in Madrid decided to do the same because when I got there I saw a sizeable line which I waited (through the cold) in front of 4 eager American college kids here on a study abroad and behind what I thought were two Americans possibly here just out of college and traveling around. For about twenty minutes the line moved little by little by little (though we had entertainment in the form of the guy in the photo above playing the violin and his buddy – not pictured – playing the guitar) and then I finally found my way to the spot where the line turned towards the museum (picture an “L” shape) and all of a sudden a foreign couple appeared in front of me as if they had been there the entire time. The woman had her back to me so I tapped her shoulder and rationally told her (in Spanish) where the line ended and where SHE was and should not be, and where I was and should be. She answered me in some other language and didn’t seem to have any care about common courtesy and ended up cutting the eager college students behind me without hearing a peep from them.

The two in front of me made a sarcastic comment about the rude couple and I smiled, which prompted them to ask if I knew English. Which made me laugh and tell them I was American! Anyhow, these two were pretty funny and were actually Canadian (but without the “eh”s peppered in their speech) AND graphic designers just graduated from college in the spring AND on their way to Barcelona the following day during their 2-month European trip. How coincidental? I ended up walking around the museum with them for awhile and parted ways giving them a small list of things to they must see in Barcelona (strange. It was my first time giving a recommendation and not taking one).

So the art in the Prado was all incredible and so wonderfully done by mostly 17th and 18th century painters – Velazquez, Rubens, Goya, Zurbaran, etc. There were a lot of well-known ones which I definitely remembered from college and overall just quite an impressive collection. I did have a couple of complaints and that was that the museum REALLY packed the exhibit rooms with their paintings; one after another and in some rooms one above another. Also, I thought the glare of the light shining down on many dark backgrounds of the paintings made it a little difficult to really take in the WHOLE painting.

All in all, it was a super art-filled day – about 5 hours in total – and a good first one in Madrid in hindsight. I must admit I wasn’t enthralled with the city the way I was when I first arrived to all of the other Spanish cities I had been to. I had heard that Madrid wasn’t all that aesthetically pleasing as most other cities are so I was prepared for that. I think maybe the cold had soured my view though.

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