Spain

Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Posted on December 13, 2014. Filed under: Art, Spain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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One reason we wanted to go to Madrid was for the outstanding art museums.  We started with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía,  an old hospital recycled as an art museum.  Just walking around the environment was very interesting; it’s hard to believe it was still in use in the 1960s as it seems very ancient.  This is where Picasso’s Guernica is housed.    They were deadly serious about not letting anyone take a picture of it as the no picture policy actually starts several rooms before the Guernica room.  Follow the link to see the image and learn about its history.  It is fascinating.  One has to see this iconic and world-famous painting in person to really appreciate it fully.  It really made an impact, I must say.  We had to wait for the Japanese tour bus to clear out as they monopolized the whole room for a time, but then we could get close and take it all in.  It is a painting which is difficult to view without emotion because it depicts the ravages of war in such an abstract way and in such an enormous size that it feels overwhelming.  One of the most interesting features of the room is along the back wall where there is a display of photos taken by Picasso’s girlfriend at the time he was painting it.  It shows his process, to a degree, as he changed his mind about several elements and it is fun to compare the photos to the finished painting.

This museum also houses some of the most famous Dali paintings, a beautiful courtyard with a Calder stabile and a covered atrium between the museum and library with the enormous Lichtenstein, “Brushstroke.”

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Towards the end of our visit we got a little tired and decided to “interact” with the art:

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Bill decided to get into “Shout No. 7” by Antonio Saura, and I liked the way my outfit complimented Jose Guerrero’s “Green Encounter.”

DSC06881Lastly we enjoyed the Richard Serra “Equal – Parallel:  Guernica – Bengazi” which are just huge hunks of iron so indestructible they don’t have guards anywhere near them!

What a great first day in Madrid!  Some tapas and beers were definitely in order after all this art fun.

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Tapas in Madrid

Posted on November 23, 2014. Filed under: Spain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

madrid tapas

A real delight in Madrid is to drop into any bar and order a drink.  Before you know it a small plate of something gets delivered as well.  It is the little freebie each place sends you as a little thank you for stopping in and also maybe a little advertising of the food available on the menu.

DSC06896Some places offered just a few little bullet-shaped crackers and chorizo sausage slices.  This seemed the default tapa, offered when the good stuff wasn’t ready yet, or perhaps at the less food-oriented places.  Several places gave us this standard.  But many others had elaborate little plates with pasta and interesting sauces or baccalao salt cod deep fried and luscious or something with a variety of silky beans with toast.  We often handled lunch easily this way by hopping from bar to bar and sampling the tapa of the day at each.  One way I kept my head about me with the alcohol was to have the Spanish specialty of beer cut in half with lemonade.  I love this light, refreshing drink!

Madrid’s little tapas bars are just a delight.  The area right near the Prado, where we stayed, is full of fun and friendly little joints in which to poke around.  If you find yourself there make time for it.

 

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