Thursday, September 10, 2015

Day 21: Having fun for the LAST day in Madrid

Wow. Three weeks just whizzed by and it is our last day of muchos turistos in Madrid. We started the day by getting our shopping done for souvenirs and for a Spanish dinner with friends when we get home. We mostly bought FOOD. What a surprise!

Paul is very at home here with the late eating hours, but especially because there is a mega gin and tonic craze that has been going on in Spain for YEARS, even through the economic downturn. He has discovered a gin that we don't get in the USA (Yes, he looked on line to see if ANYONE sells it and got a goose egg!), so one of the stops on our shopping trek was the liquor store that sells Nordes gin. It has  a very floral background and he loves it. We are bringing back "the limit" per customs.

Paul's souvenir shopping--gin. He was depressed that he cannot take home all the wine.

Then we were off to the Reina Sofia art museum. It was once a hospital. It has a great collection and we really enjoyed the layout and the space between object d'art. We were literally overwhelmed at the Thyssen and Reina Sofia gave you a chance to "digest" what you saw. 

Giancometti's cat

The museum had sculptures, paintings, minimalist displays and a lot of film, too,


Side by side Miro. Also much Dali and Picasso, as well as quite a lot of Kandisky.

Another large Richard Serra ironwork exhibit
We were pleased to see more work by Richard Serra in the Reina Sofia. This room was constructed specifically for his work. We saw some "small building" sized work of his at the Guggenheim. It is all done in steel.

Different perspective

Calder in the courtyard
This mobile piece by Calder in the courtyard was delightful.It rotates in the upper section much like a windmill. There were smaller indoor Calder pieces as well.
More Miro

and even more...

Dali's depiction of Luis Bunuel
There was a film  in the museum by Dali and Bunuel called the Andalusian dog. It was quite abstract and admittedly, I didn't "get it." But it was interesting to watch. Maybe not getting it is what surrealism is all about? Paul said he read Bunuel's biography called The Last Sigh in which he says that after his death, he hopes he can come back and buy a newspaper every now and then. Probably NOT the Knoxville News Sentinel?
Human sized metronome

Paul Parris peruses man and machine
The crowning glory per se of the Reina Sofia is Picasso's Guernica.
Picasso's homeland of Spain is central to the meaning of Guernica, a mural the artist was commissioned to paint for the 1937 World Fair in Paris. Although Picasso expatriated to Paris and never did return to Spain during his life, the artist's connection to his homeland of Spain is evident in Guernica, named after a small country town in north Spain that was the target of a terror bombing exercise by the German Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War (with Franco's permission.) The civilian slaughter was immense. You can see the images of  death throughout the entire mural.
"My whole life as an artist has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against reaction and the death of art. In the picture I am painting — which I shall call Guernica — I am expressing my horror of the military caste which is now plundering Spain into an ocean of misery and death." Pablo Picasso
It is by far the most impressive thing in the museum both in sheer size and in the depiction of human suffering...and that's in a museum full of amazing works of art.
The scale on this painting is HUGE. There were literally two ladies standing next to this painting guarding it and they were dwarfed by it.
Madrid sky with Reina Sofia in the foreground
We spent about three hours in the museum and thoroughly enjoyed it. And then we saw another work of art...the sky hovering over the museum with these amazing clouds. How lucky can you get? Especially when it -173 degrees Centigrade. (or so they believe at the bank.)

It's COLD in Madrid today!
House of Congress is across the street from the hotel.
We saw this site tonight on our way out...they house of Congress. We have seen protests outside. Peaceful ones.

Jazz quintet

The composer

We concluded our visit to Madrid in an apropos manner for my husband...a jazz show at Bogui. The artist is a Azerbaijani pianist named Amina Figarova and her quintet playing selections from Blue Whisper, her latest CD. Lotsa fun!!!  So we are leaving Spain tomorrow with our own blue whispers. Sad to leave, happy to go home.

Paul's Ponderings:  A great three weeks in Spain comes to an end!  The museum today was fabulous and we topped it off with some great jazz!   Hard to ask for better.   Tomorrow it is a migration back to real life as they say.  

Day 20: Madrid--What I Did With the Madrid Kid--Hours of Art/Hours of Flowers

Just one of many from the Botanical Garden at Madrid. In fact, there are SO many, I am just adding the others at the end!
Once I asked my husband to let me look at his senior high school yearbook. In the front, was a large inscription: To the Madrid Kid. His parents sent him on a tour of Spain and although it appears he did actually see some of the famous places, museums and all, he had already told me what most of his memories consisted of. At that point, I closed the yearbook and read no more!  Youth is often wasted on people who don't appreciate the experience to the fullest. But we really appreciated it today.

We started off at the Thyssen Collection. This museum is one of the "big three" and really close to our hotel as well.

Exterior of the Museum
Currently, besides the permanent collection which spanned from religious art of the 1300s to present and all the usual masterpiece artists we have been fortunate to grow accustomed to, they also had temporary exhibits by the Spanish painter, Zurbaran, who mostly made work for churches and Vogue magazine photography-most of which wouldn't be allowed in ANY church. But maybe some of it should be!

Example of Zurbaran's work. This is very representative.
The Zurbaran work was generally either depictions of Christ, saints and sometimes with the patron of the portrait conveniently present within the work :)

The Vogue exhibit was stunning. The photos were works that mimicked famous painting, some very recognizable, such as the Girl with the Pearl Earring. Also, in contrast to most exhibits, we were allowed to take photos so feast on these, if you can actually feast on predominantly anorectic things.

This is the only thing in the exhibit that was not a photo, but it is a Vogue outfit. Glad I don't have to wear it.

But I have to admit, it is a work of art.

You can see people reflected in the glass looking at the Vogue photo

The photo and the reflection of the lady taking a picture of the photo

Wow. That's a lot of pink and it doesn't stink.

Beach shot

A little crooked in my interpretation but you'll get the point. Gorgeous

I wouldn't mind owning this a somewhat larger size

Very Vogue

A photo captioned the dress tree

That's Paul admiring this photo you see reflected into the glass. I love this one
It was a real pleasure to see all the sections of the museum. We were very grateful for the opportunity. 

Then we had the pleasure of viewing the botanical gardens which were amazingly diverse. We had fun watching the green parrots flitting about through the trees. The garden is a wonderful bird sanctuary. And Paul had a blast at the koi pond just trying to find the one that most looked like a VOL fan. All these things are pictured below in a big photo series.

Lastly and not at all leastly, we had dinner with a friend, Bert, who was our hiking guide in Andorra last year. It was a grand reunion over a leg of lamb. They served the whole leg. Slightly disturbing, but Paul got the hoof....he thinks he gets the hoof occasionally anyway!

I'm pulling someone's leg. 

The restaurant. Rustic but very good.

Men with full bellies

Bert takes a bite,
If we could have had a nicer day in Madrid with better company, I cannot imagine it at all.

Paul's Ponderings:  A very relaxed day out and we got to see our friend Bert as well for dinner.  The art museum was sort of overwhelming, as many such European museums are, with gallery after gallery of works.   After about 3+ hours, we were ready for a break.   The botanical garden was also quite nice and then it was time for dinner.   Tomorrow is our last day -- where did 3 weeks go?

Weeping bonsai

I got stuck on succulents.

View down a garden lane

Spot the Vol fan

Another VOL fan...sort of

palm leaf

Succulents don't suck!

A snaking cactus

Barrel cactus

Most of the cacti were from USA or South Africa

Thorny proposition

Satisfied customers

Chinese mimosa

Silver cabbage

Pumpkin season

Green parrots. They were a joy to watch.

The flower of my heart :)

The Prado. We saw it last Friday and photographed it today!