Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Prado and Reina Sofia

I know as much about art as I do whiskey. I love some of it, appreciate most of it, and throw up violently if I'm in Thailand drinking it out of a plastic jug. Happily, I have yet to experience any of the latter in Madrid. Today I got a chance to visit two of the best art collections in the world; the Reina Sophia and Prado museums.

I visited the Reina Sophia first, and probably spoiled the Prado for myself in doing so. The Reina Sophia is an overwhelmingly large complex of modern buildings fused to an old limestone foundation of columns and grand hallways. And much of the work it houses, contemporary art from the likes of Picasso, Dali and Gris, are mentally exhausting things to assimilate. Especially if you only have a few hours. Picasso's Guernica (I've mentioned it earlier), for example, is displayed in a large white room, flanked by two rooms of the artist's studies for the painting's many parts. It took me over an hour to get out of that wing of the gallery.

Like any contemporary museum though, there was also a bunch of stuff that I thought was retarded. Some jerkoff mounted a plastic tube to the floor of the lobby that had bubbles running through it. And some other guy framed a leaf. Stupid.

Like I said; the Reina Sofia was exhausting. So the Prado received far less mental energy from me as a result. The two really shouldn't both be squeezed into the same day. Minimally, I should have had a beer and a nap between them. But to be fair, classical and renaissance art doesn't usually resonate with me as much as newer stuff. Also, The Reina Sofia might be the best contemporary museum I've ever seen (next to the NYC MoMA). The Prado doesn't rank as well for Classics.

The only negative for the day was realizing how insufficient the two days I've allotted for Madrid are. Four should really be a minimum for this place.


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