on February 5, 2006
Without a doubt, the Prado is one of the most important museums in the world. It’s amazing how with a mere 6 euros (or lower), one can already be allowed to witness this massive collection that has successfully transcended time and class boundaries.It really is a bit overwhelming where to begin. Although most known for its paintings, the Prado also houses collections of sculptures, coins, medals, and other decorative works. However, if you’re like me (and most people), the paintings are what you want to focus on.I’m no art connoisseur. I’ve known of great artists and of their most prominent masterpieces and that’s just about it. If you’re not at liberty to peruse all paintings to your heart’s desire, or if you want to have a better appreciation of the paintings, do your research before heading out to Prado. Or better yet, buy the book “The Prado” (25 euros) or “The Prado Masterpieces” (15 euros) at the museum shops. Aside from serving as a souvenir, this will direct you to those works of geniuses you simply cannot miss. Here are the works that struck me the most.Goya. Amazing, this guy. His works show a range of versatility that is uncommon even in most masters. He was commissioned by the Spanish courts; thus, many of paintings are portraits of the royal family and depictions of Spanish life. A pair of his must-see popular works are the nude and the clothed “Maja.” Then there are his black paintings, which, though not aesthetically pleasing to my eye, are riveting. These paintings are visually dark, as smoky grays and browns blend to form seemingly equally dark themes. Be sure to drop by “The Witches’ Sabbath” and “The Third of May 1808.”El Greco. Although he is known for his portraits, I prefer his scenic paintings, particularly those that portray religious themes. Majestic is what comes to mind when I gaze at “The Holy Trinity” and “The Adoration of the Shepherds.” The play of bold yellows, blues, reds, and greens of the figures, blended with the grey-browns of the backdrop, is striking and creates a depth of emotion in the images.Diego Velazquez. The Prado houses all his important works, and they are simply beautiful. If you get a copy of books I mentioned above, you’ll read of detailed explanations of the painter’s intellect as showcased in “Las Meninas” and “Las Hilanderas.” Aside from “Las Meninas,” a personal favorite of mine is “Los Borrachos.”Be sure to also check out beautiful works by Caravaggio, Raphael, Tintoretto, Titian, Rubens, and Van der Weyden.I know this write-up doesn’t do the Prado or the painters any justice. Spend at least half a day there to be able to unhurriedly absorb these masterpieces. However, I think any amount of time you spend at the Prado will leave you wanting. And hopefully, I’ll be back someday to relive this experience.
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