Sunday, April 30, 2017

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1

Madrid has three large and famous art museums, the Prado, the Reina Sofia (Guernica and more), and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. For reasons we can not imagine, much less remember, we had never been to the Thyssen, and so, after a day's rest and relief from Goya and El Greco, we spent most of a day at the Thyssen, being overwhelmed by the size and quality of the collection and the visiting special collection of masterworks from the Museum of Fine Arts/National Gallery from Budapest. The Thyssen is very young as major museums go, just 25 years, but almost every historically great painter is represented in some form or another. In a couple of its many halls are the largest collection of American (USA) paintings we have seen in Europe. I took 260 pix at the Thyssen, but will heroically edit them down to 40 or so, more or less chronologically. There were many discoveries, many curiosities.
Entering the Thyssen-Boremisza; the big 3 story building is
on the left

NO FOTOS in the special visiting collection; understandably;
complete photographic freedom in the regular collection

Christ and the Samaritan Woman, Duccio de Buoninsegna,
yes, that Duccio; 14th century

Rogier van der Weyden, Madonna Enthroned

Jan van Eyck, Annunciation diptych

Holbein, Jr., Henry VIII

Domenico Ghirlandaio, Portrait of Giovanna
, late 15th

It's been a long time since we've seen a real Della Robia, here,
Saint Augustine

It's a gorgeous museum, excellent display, all the amenities; the
gift shoppe is exceptional; the cafe/cafeteria maybe the best we
have seen

Leonardo Da Vinci, Virgin and Child with the
Infant John

Ha! Fooled you! It's Luini again!

Cranach, Virgin with Child Eating Grapes;
notice the Child's head is way too big

Albrecht Durer, Christ among the Elders

Cranach again, Reclining Nymph

Hans Baldung Grien, Adam and Eve, 1531; you
can see they were heading for trouble

Cranach's portrait of Charles V

Among the things we've learned on this trip is to look for
paintings by Joachim Patinir, a pioneer of landscape painting;
here, his Landscape on the Flight to Egypt

A c. 1570 Last Supper once attributed to El Greco; before
he became El Greco

Francois Clouet, La Carta Amarosa, 1570
Caravaggio, St. Catherine of Alexandria, 1597

Claude Lorraine, of course, Landscape with
Flight to Egypt

A Canaletto that is not of the Grand Canal! Warwick Castle,

Peter Brueghel, Elder, Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1596

Best Mountaineering/Travel Bookstore Ever, So Far

For some years, we have kidded about doing The Way, the Camino Santiago, or some suitable stretch of it. Not that we are, um, particularly devout, nor that we have some vow to keep. The Camino is very old, muy famoso, many trails, many variants, many sites, in France and Spain, and Portugal, all ending at the tomb of St. James, in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, northwest Spain. (We were there in 2010; see for enlightened commentary). We like treks, especially if the scenery is good or if they are historic. And especially if there are refuges or huts or pilgrim hostels along the way and auberges and ristorantes and cafes and wine bars so you don't have to carry a heavy pack. Or if other fun seems likely or you even get a compostela or maybe even a plenary indulgence for your trouble. We have (inadvertently) driven much of the French version, especially as it crosses Spain, and were thrilled to learn that there is a somewhat less crowded, much more scenic version, the Portuguese Way. Better yet, it is known as the easy version of The Way. So we have resolved to become Pilgrims, at least for a week or so in June, and consequently have been looking for the authoritative (and in English, too) guide book, A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino Portugues, 8th edition, by John Brierly. The publisher and then his distributor for Spain directed us to bookstores in Madrid, the most interesting of which, by far, was Libreria de Montana, not far from the Prado. Alas, they had only the 7th edition, published in 2016, not nearly good enough for us serious prospective Pilgrims. But just seeing the store was an extraordinary treat.
Libreria de Montana, which made us a little homesick

Modernista with ice axes...we're going to like
this place

Books in the window

Window dressing

A mountaineering bivouac sack for reading

Ice axe post

Clocks showing times at the world's major summits; note grill
work too

Thousands of titles of travel books, some in English, too

Incredible place; we're getting to like Madrid more and more

Prado, 2017

This was our third visit to the Prado (April 24th), spending pretty much the day in the museum, as in previous visits. I think 2013 was my best visit, bringing more knowledge and certainly a more open mind to the great collection. In 2017, my interests are more narrow, and much of the museum is of, um, rather less interest now. I think I have now seen enough Goyas and El Grecos for the rest of my lifetime. I am still intrigued by Velazquez, and the main interests for me at the Prado remain the older Low Country paintings collected by the Hapsburg royalty of Spain, way back in the good old days. We always make a bee-line for the Garden of Earthly Delights and stay in that room full of Bosch's greatest hits for an hour or more.
At the Goya entrance, a line even at 9:45

We are not the only people who make a dash for the Bosch; at
this point, the wary guard gently reminded me "NO FOTOS!"

Consequently, my pix from the Prado do not
include many of the Biggies; whenever the
guard gets involved in his/her texts, in small
rooms, and if there is something of interest,
I get it; here is a 15th century oil on panel
Flemish Baby J disrespecting a book

A Biggie for me: Durer's first self portrait; I
probably already have it, but this time I also
snagged a fridge magnet for my extensive

Luini's Gioconda; Luini was one of Leonardo's
main assistants, and the evidence suggests this
was painted at the same time as the one in the
Louvre; interesting; we've seen several Luinis
now and they can easily be mistaken for the
really Biggies

This is a reminder to look up the story of Nastagio degli
a story from the Decameron from which Botticelli did a four
painting cycle; the Prado has the first three; it's an interesting
tale of how to win your loved one's unwilling hand

Poulet roti lunch at the Prado

We like paintings of people reading; this is Jose
Moreno Carbonera's Prince Carlos de Viana;
the young prince lost his argument with his dad
about dynastic rights and resigned himself to
a life of reading

Never miss a Claude Lorraine; this is his Landscape with a
Saint or Some Other Biblical/Religious Theme
; no, wait, maybe
that was the second of the Prado's two Lorraines

Yes, that's it; the one above was Fording a River 

And now for something completely different:
unfortunately I could not photograph the
explanation, but the gist is, at age 37, this
woman (holding baby) began growing a
beard; everyone thought this was a sign of
divine favor, and Ribera, was called in to
record the matter; more than you could
possibly ever want to know about this, um,
masterpiece, is at
; a case of gender fluidity,
some say

And now for something completely different, 2: an
El Greco San Sebastian that was cut off at the legs
and then put back together, presumably when the
owner moved into a larger apartment

Holy threesome; by this point at the Prado I
am ready for some strong refreshment

Theotokopoulos' Portrait of a Gentlemen; the
Prado is now using this as its emblem

Un carajillo, por favor; a doble, por favor

Crucifiction of St. Peter

The Queen of Heaven squirting stigmata at
some saint

Velazquez bids us adieu; if, alas, you came to this blog-post
hoping to see some of the Biggies from the Prado, go instead
to; perhaps
you will be re-directed miraculously