Sunday, July 27, 2014

La Reina Sofia

El Prado. La Reina Sofia. The Dalí Museum.

Click to visit La Reina Sofia's website!
That’s probably the order I liked them in. The ambiance of El Prado trumped both of the others—a formal, magnificent hall of history that waited for you to sit and visit. Perhaps it was the benches. They were very inviting. I could have sat down and looked for hours. At the people. At the pictures. At the guards as they made their rounds. It’s a palace of masters, and it was plenty to keep me in wonder.

La Reina Sofia does not have benches—an investment I would fully recommend. We looked at most of the second floor in a matter of hours, and by the end my legs were dying, and I understood why people can use standing as torture. God gave us butts with good reason. Also, I am not always the most appreciative of modern art, so there’s that.

The Dalí Museum was the worst. There was probably a smaller amount of people in total that could fit into the museum, but rather than a huge gallery he renovated an old theater, and so we were cramped and caught in a current that was brisk and unforgiving. Stop, take a picture, move on. There was no time to really appreciate his art—it was a tourist attraction, not a monument. It was probably a mistake to go.

But though I love El Prado, La Reina Sofia did hold one of my favorite excursions while in Spain: La Guernica.

Now, when I first saw that picture, I was like, “Wow, that is crap. Why does anyone think this is art?” because I was unschooled, and Picasso is Picasso, which is all I have to say about that.

And then my teacher taught me. Her job, of course, but a favor to me as well. We talked about the history: there was a man who took over Spain, and he permitted Adolf Hitler to come and kill his own citizens. They died. But not just die—they were brutally murdered. Slain. Obliterated. And that was an atrocity.

She pointed out the figures: the bull protecting a woman and her dead child. A bird. A light bulb. The house on fire. An injured lady. A dying horse. The shapes slowly came into view, until I could see that what used to be mystic shapes were symbols and nouns. Proper nouns, that were no more.

He made it as a call—for Spain to rise up at this injustice, and for the world to see that something had to be done.

Instead they hung it up on a wall and it has been hailed as the mighty kahuna of all the art made in the twentieth century.

I saw it, and it was shivery. I got it, and I got it good. It made me sad to see, and yet it was probably my favorite experience in all my time in Spain.

But still. Benches. Benches, benches, benches. For serious.

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