Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

At lunchtime I (and the TAMs working with me at the customer site) walked past the Museo Nacional del Prado, an impressive looking building hosting a Picasso exhibition. The area was pretty busy with coach loads of visitors but I assumed it would be closed by the time I'd finished at the customer site, thinking as I was of such places as London's National Gallery (9:00am-5:30pm). Sadly, when I did later walk past the museum after a gentle stroll through the Jardines del Buen Retiro, I discovered that a more tourist-friendly 8pm was the norm (and even later for special events). Nevertheless, I paid my 6 Euros and spent a pleasant hour inside amongst the Rembrandts and Ruebens.

Highlight for me was the La familia real de Felipe IV, an imposing work at 318 x 276 cm that took pride of place in the central hall of the Salon de Actos on the planta primera. Diego Velázquez de Silva (1599-1660) had created an interesting work where the observer of the painting was in fact an alternative subject. The image below doesn't really do the picture any justice but it was the best I could find on the Internet. The painting was certainly one where you just wanted to stand in front of it for as long as it took to try and take it all in. I did refrain from taking any photographs myself while I was there - partly for fear of being kicked out but also to protect the pictures from flash photography (assuming that IS something that damages oil paintings). Maybe I'll find a copy I can buy in the museum shop next time I'm there. All the on-line commentary about the picture seems to be in Spanish so I'll need to dust off my GCSE and get translating so I can find out who's in the mirror.


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