Counter Arts
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Counter Arts

Prado of Madrid

A forestation of art

Image by janeb13 from Pixabay

Soft words for a rich forestation. I am not blaspheming when I use soft, humble words to describe an artwork. I see the paintings in the museum of Madrid and there are different scenes of full lives in them. More than the naked eye will witness at first. In the back of Diego Velázquez’s The Family of King Philip IV, there are paintings, second protagonists, and a door opening. An opening inside a closed painting. The brush might have stopped for 400 years now and yet the door is still open. The light in the painting is eternal.

Soft words for the soft brushes that stroked portraits to inhabit the beautiful Prado museum.

I have felt interested in Spain’s art treasure boxes. I wanted to see what is there. The Beloved Italian Venus is an image and keeps me clothed in admiration for Italian art. But, what of Spain? Spain that resembles my home, Greece, of music and life and the full human experience of being imperfect. What of Spain’s art?

How to put it into words? Looking at each painting and reading the details after the two-paragraph stories is like walking in a forest outside of a palace. Prado, meaning meadow, was a wonderfully chosen name. The museum was meant to be built on top of blooming grass nature so that people would walk by and experience it. Magnificently such, walking by the paintings one by one reminds you of forestation of art.

Rogier Van Der Weyden, the Descent From the Cross

Human Christ is being carried away from the cross. The scene in front of me is a perfect depiction of the multidimensionality of being human. Rogier has managed to put many movements in it to truly express the grief of every person. Grief holds many faces. The painting was amazingly thought and produced. To have added such detail… I look and look and look.

Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve

I can’t not appreciate the lines of the naked body. The little steps along the soles of the feet add a rhythmic softness. Eve holds the apple and Adam holds the apple branch. The human body is calligraphic and dry here. Nothing too much, nothing less. You can see it as you want. To compose such simplicity with oil paint in 1507. Wonder.

Hieronymus Bosch, the Garden of Earthly Delights

I observe and pay attention to as many paintings as I can. This is a painting I absolutely do not desire to see again. I try to see it all without personal judgment but I am very much allowed to. The shapes and scenes of the humans, including the famous glass ball of the two lovers, simply make me uncomfortable. And not in a thoughtful way. Something that wasn’t ugly before now is. In general, I didn’t enjoy any of his paintings. I sense a pattern of visions of monstrosity.

Tiziano Vecellio, The Bacchanal of the Andrians

I see the ocean and I see Greece in it, even with the storm coming. I feel seen. Dionysus lying at the side while the uncomplicated people are dancing, drinking. Whoever drinks and doesn’t drink again, doesn’t know how to drink, says our guide. Tiziano provokes something to the viewer. He manages to ensemble the right scene to speak his story. The woman on the lower right living her best life is a painting by itself. Truly, Dionysus, what were you thinking?

Adding on a side note, Tiziano’s appreciation and favor towards the young prince Philip in the mids 1500s is sweet. Reading about their exchange of letters and how well he knew his face is a fresh air of warmth. A validation that those painters didn’t just love the art, but mostly the subjects behind it. His variety of work shows a person with inquisitiveness. The soul is curious truly. Even when the mind is full of worries, we are curious souls.

Anthony van Dyck, The Taking of Christ

Another Christian painting. Religion has always been a part of our lives. This painting is impressive. The yellow clothing of the Apostle closest to God brings a light to another wise hard image. This theme has been done again by Italian teachers such as Bassano. It’s interesting here though how the colors climax the scene. There is a power, a violent wilderness in it. It is happening.

Diego Velázquez, Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan

One of the best paintings for me. Hephaestus’ face to the contraction of Apollon’s light. This painting seems to have a short pallet color but more is happening. Much more. His helpers were supposed to be one-eye cyclopes. Their sculptured bodies have caught my attention solely for at least five minutes. The shock, the truth. Apollon is a light but delivers dark news to a fiery environment. Diego Velázquez, amazing.

Claude Lorrain, the Finding of Moses

Claude, one of the most popular topographs, has painted this masterpiece of light. It makes one wonder how did the scene look so much like an airy Eden? The stillness around the Earth. Is it the water element? Is it the trees that look so unbearably soft as they fall towards the bridge? Claude was never tired of painting this way. Warm light with a mass of trees. The architecture, the heights, everything constructs a location that looks natural yet not your environment. Absolutely love this painting.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, the Holy Family With a Little Bird

This painting resembles Joseph, a young Joseph, a beautiful warm Mary swallowed in brown earthy colors, a dog, and an angelic child. The picture is not attacking you. The tones that are used make you feel at home. With one fast eye, it looks simple, minimal, so pleasing. But the details? As if often happens with Murillo’s painting, there they are. Joseph’s tools are in the back and the clothes are in the basket. The artist is a master at giving a glimpse of normal life.

Francisco José de Goya, Naked Maja, Dressed Maja

The lack of shame is what makes the painting belong to her wholeheartedly. The flesh on top of the pale linings as she is lying there looking like a triumphant female. The beauty here is her, undoubtedly, unabashedly. The light, it slowly leaves the back of her legs and it drowns back into the corner of the painting. She is the perfect model to accompany the sea of colors as they follow boldly the surfaces where the light shines.

Prado is on fire, Prado is on fire’, said Mariano de Cavia to save Prado and the thousands of art pieces from overcrowding each other and being damaged. And by now, the technique and space given to all those paintings are an expression of freedom. All the beautiful pieces are living there, keeping each other company, as their history lives on to inspire.

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La Chrysanthème

La Chrysanthème

Sensitive energy requires kindness and art. For the muses of this world.