More From day 1 at El Prado.
El Bosco –
Alas we have arrived to my favorite painter of all time;Hieronymus Bosch. If there are words that can describe El Bosco’s paintings they would be that he depicts the cycles of life using the true colors of human nature. Highlighting that we are perverse beings that act more like demons that creatures of God. El Bosco is not Spanish, but he was a favorite of Spanish royalty, which is why his repertoire is part of the permanent collection here at El Prado.
This selection will not only contain work of El Bosco but other contemporaries and Flemish painters.
“The Garden of Earthly Delights” – If there is any painting I could own in all the world it would certainly with out a doubt be this one. I feel no painter encompasses human nature like this. El Bosco tries in no way to hide the disgusting aspect of human nature. In this painting El Bosco depicts Birth/Creation (left), Life (center), and Death/Armageddon (right).
I could honestly stare at this painting for years and never fully comprehend the complexity of it all. His grand devices made of stone and oblique design (mostly seen on the right hand side) give a haunting sense of death, but the sort of death no one wants to encounter, a death worse than burning, a death worse than drowning. His hell in a sense scares me more than the hell the Bible portrays. A painful painting to look at, it shows our imperfections and our disgusting nature.
See if you can find these ultra cool figures :
The rat dog – Left
Puma with lizard – “”
Unicorn – “”
Christ with the nudes – “”
Black Woman – Center
Upside down man- “”
Rose Bud – “”
Pig Nun- Right
Demon Sultan – “”
Ear with knife – “”
Giant Rabbit – “”
I’ve always wanted to write something inspired by this painting. But its to complex to interpret using solely words. No combination of letters could do it justice.
“The Haywain” –
For man to live in sin is for man to live in hell. For man to indulge in sin, is for man to create hell. His distortion of creatures is quite beautiful. Making animals look innocent makes man loose his essence. Again we see him separating his painting, another sense of cycles.
“Mesa de los Pecados” –
No words could help me explain this one.
“The triumph of death” – Pieter Brueguel “El Viejo”
This painting truly does scream Armageddon. It bottles up all my nightmares of the apocalypse. This will definitely be the worst way to go.
– Jose Silva
The ticket line is pretty long. Why? Because duh! It’s El Museo del Prado, probably the greatest of all the Spanish art museums, and one of the most recognized around the world, and probably because there is a fantastic Rembrandt exhibition going on. So today we will squeeze Rembrandt and El Bosco (my favorite painter of all time) into my schedule. I will make another trip to El Prado later this week to cover the great Spanish artist of El Greco, Goya, and Velasquez.
Rembrandt – This is my first encounter with the great Rembrandt . What do you mean this is your first encounter with the Rembrandt? Isn’t he showcased amongst the great museums of New York? We’ll yes he is but he was never on my priority list of paintings to see. For me New York is the city of impressionist collections and abstract art (the Rothko collection for one). Madrid is more of a classical setting, more renaissance, the enlightened artist are showcased here. Walking into El Prado you feel a sense of the Inquisition dawning upon, as the walls are draped by the famous rebels of the infamous era.
But the Rembrandt exhibit is different. He obviously had nothing to do with the Spanish Inquisition, which is probably why his exhibit is far from the halls of Goya and Velasquez.
The one thing that fascinates me with Rembrandt was his nude paintings. They are elegant and robust, showing the true features of a beautiful woman of his era. He doesn’t think twice of thinning her out, for what made a woman gorgeous wasn’t a slim body, but an imperfect yet highlighted figure; accentuated with impeccable breasts; and an angelic visage. You will see some of my favorites down below.
“Christ driving the money lenders from temple” – His view on Christ I find is quite comical. He looks more like a 40 year old rather than a man of 30.
“Salome with the head of Saint John the Baptist” – Salome looks quite like a sultress with a gown that looks more appropriate for removing than carrying the head of a saint. Her eyes look devious and her pursing lips erotic. She carries the dark head of Saint John on a plate made for serving food. It makes me wonder what Rembrandts intentions were when he painted this beauty.
“Susannah with the Elders”- Possibly my favorite nude painting of Rembrandt. This very erotic painting depicts a scene from the Bible (Daniel 13; 15-21) . Again he uses imperfect shapes of the female body revealing his ideology of the robust woman. Her hand placement makes me wonder if Rembrandt wants to portray her as a victim or a woman who succumb to her desires.
“The woman taken into adultery” – The adulteress looks more like a saint than a criminal. He white gown screams of royalty. She is a queen before Christ and a whore amongst her companions.
“Rest on the flight into Egypt” – I love the darkness of this painting. It shows an illusion of evil as Christ escapes bearing light, and hope.
“Bathsheba” – Another beautiful nude; elegant and robust, so beautiful.
– Jose Silva
Lunch with Hemingway –
I sit alone in a tavern in Plaza Santa Ana. I pay € 11 for a bocadillo de chorizo, a plate of croquetas and glass of beer (prices you could never find in New York) . But it isn’t the cheap beer or the amazing food hat has me freaking out over this place; No it’s the idea that I am sitting in the same establishment where the Great Ernest Hemingway (and if you know me at all you know that to me there is no greater writer, well Bolaño is equally as good but that’s a different story) sat and enjoyed a beer, where he sat and probably drafted some of magnificent short stories. Cerveceria Aleman isn’t tucked away in hidden in alley like you might imagine literary gem of the past might be. This bar shines with its exuberant sign with black letters that that’s screams subtly “YES THE GREAT HAVE SAT HERE!” With its walls adorned with famous bullfights I feel like God himself led me to this place that belongs solely to the likes of Garcia Lorca and Hemingway. There is no greater feeling than to sit alone and to wonder what conversations might have began here; An argument over the revolution? Hemingway’s impact on Spainish culture? Or Maybe even the ever so pestering question; what tapa bar do we try next?
*- Sorry about the late posts. The Internet is quite curious over here. Up next; you can find a review, and my favorite things of my most visited and probably favorite museum; day one at El Museo del Prado. Expect that post later today. -*
Jose Silva –
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Saturday, December 13, 2008 4:10 PM – Paris
So you will probably read this post a long time after I originally wrote it. I am currently stuck in Charles de Gualle Airport on voyage to Madrid. I have been in Paris almost an entire day and I have not spoken a word of English, nor have a spoken a word of French (Well that’s sort of a lie I called my mom, lets just pretend we spoke in Spanish). I have been pointing at things on a menu, like an idiot, I am making signs to tell the person to speak slower so I can use my highly skilled Spanish along with my highly skilled English to decipher their sentences that sound like rubbish.
My first twenty or some minutes as a free person in person in Europe I decided to begin the one activity I really enjoy, and one I really don’t plan to set aside; I got my drink on.
As I was skimming the web today, I came across this neat site blurb.com. Its a book making site! How cool is that? Make your own book for any occasion !
Every now and then I finish a collection of poetry, or a few short stories, and I never know what to do with them. The longer they stay wedged inside my hundred or so Moleskine journals, the longer it will take for them to see the face of the world. Now with this site and their service they can die in a sophisticated manner, on my book shelf next to Vargas Llosa or even Hemingway!
What else did I find on the web, today? Aside from the scores of amazing reviews on Bolaño’s masterpiece, I found The New Yorker’s new digital version of its magazine. You can try it for free by clicking this link
So to wrap it up I just thought everyone on the face of the planer should read these two articles –
One is from Alma Guillermoprieto – DAYS OF THE DEAD
The last is a review on Bolaño’s 2666 from the New York Times – The Departed
I’m still selecting the canon of books I will take with me to Egypt, any suggestions?
– Jose Silva
So It seems that I’m going to spend Christmas in Israel! Awesome! Except for the fact that I know very little about the country. What should I do? Where Should I go?
AHHH! sorry a bit of agitation. I need to deal with the European bureaucracy soon. Why is it so tedious to obtain a visa?
So here is a preliminary list of the places I wish to visit while in Egypt –
of course cairo buts that obvious.
– Jose Silva