Spain: Madrid – Museo del Prado

Palacio de ComunicacionesPowered by churros, the Spanish fried-dough pastry mostly served for breakfast in Spain, and cafe con leche I set out for another walk about the city.

I started out at the Plaza de Cibeles which is dominated by the Palacio de Communicaciones. It is mockingly referred to as “Our Lady of Communications” due to it’s ornateness and cathedral like spires, but is merely the post office headquarters and also houses a museum of the postal system. The fountain in the center of this famous plaza is the Fuente de la Cibeles, which features the roman goddess of nature (Ceres) on her chariot.

Fuente de CibelesI braved the insanely long lines and visited Museo del Prado, the largest and most famous art museum in Madrid. This museum boasts one of the largest collections of paintings by Goya. Through the many rooms on multiple floors you walk by and see just how much his painting style changed and evolved. I found the “black paintings” incredibly disturbing, mostly in the exaggeration of facial features that were at the same time vague. The stuff of nightmares where more is left to the imagination.

I thoroughly enjoyed the hunting scenes, there was a room full of hunting dog paintings with game and the occasional tall thin paintings with trees and birds, dimensions you just don’t see in paintings eight feet tall and maybe ten inches wide.

Of course, there is no photography in the museum, I wish I could have captured an image or two of the secret basement room I was told I needed to find. It contained “paintings” composed entirely of mosaic pieces of semi precious stones. Mosaic isn’t quite the right word, the detail and alignment was so precise and tiny *tiny* pieces, stepping back just one step and it looked like it had been painted. I’m not an art historian, but I can appreciate the skill and talent it would take to create something like that.