What’s not to like about the Prado?

Crossing of the River Styx by Joachim Charon, Wikimedia Commons, or, me navigating the halls of the Prado last October.

Aside from the lack of pillows on the benches and readily available masseuses (which is possibly asking a bit much of a museum), nothing really.

Having been warned by a bloke at the tourist office in Madrid (in the pleasingly symmetrical plaza Major) that queues start early at the Prado, I arrived 15 minutes before the doors opened, and fitted myself into the serpentine queue of similarly eager visitors.

I only had two days in Madrid, so I’d planned nothing else for the day, and in fact I emerged with the twilight settling onto the wet surfaces of the park surrounding the Prado, at 6pm.

I left with a list of favourites which I saved as a draft in my Gmail as I walked along. It might be lacking some of my most favouritest because I was too in awe to think of writing things down… I’m sure there were some lady artists I’d noted which are clearly missing here.

Isabel II, veiled
Isabel II, veiled by Camillo Torreggiani,
©Museo Nacional del Prado, or, Me waking up with a hangover.

Here it is anyway, in the order in which I saw the works and jotted down notes:

  • I couldn’t resist the medieval revivalism of Los amantes de Teruel by the nineteenth-century Valencian Antonio Muñez Degrain.
  • The veiled bust of Isabel II by the Italian Camillo Torreggiani.
  • Joaquin Sorolla’s ¡Aún dicen que el pescado es caro! – for the title, of course, but also for the very strange and eerie scene it portrays.
  • Lorenzo Valles’ Demencia de Doña Juana  – the madness of Joan of Castile. This story is so compelling, and the painting is in this beautiful narrative style.
  • Such cute little devils in the Maestro de Zafra’s Saint Michael Archangel.
  • I enjoyed the very detailed account of Saints Cosmos and Damian by Fernando del Rincon, with the static effects of architectural depth contrasting with the movement in the medical scene in the foreground.
  • This painting of a stately dwarf by Juan van der Hamen y Leon (and his flower stills as well).
  • This weirdly erotic portrait of Saint John the Baptist by Fray Juan Bautista Maino.
  • I’m always a fan of Saint John‘s beheaded head. This one by Ströbel El Joven is fun (as were many other things by him).
  • Van Dyck’s portrayal of his one-armed colleague Martin Ryckaert, which resided in the Real Alcazar for a time.
  • Anton Rafael Mengs’ self portrait, which reminded me of Zach Braff.
  • The miniaturistic Paso de la laguna Estigia by Joachim Patinir Charon, with the mesmerising aquamarine blue.

I also have Mayken Verhulst written down, but not sure what struck me of his precisely…

Do you have any favourites?

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