El Greco, Velazquez and Goya. Oh my!

Madrid is filled with museums.  Art, history, architecture, food.  Whatever.

And yes, theres a ham museum.  Except it’s a restaurant too.  They just call it ‘Museo de jamon’.  Don’t laugh.  I’m totally serious.

When I went to Spain in 2007, one of the museums we went to was the Prado Museum.  We weren’t there very long so we only got to see a small portion of a MASSIVE museum.

One of the perks of being a college student is that a lot of museums over here will let you in for free if you have an ID.  The other cool thing about museums here is that quite a few have ‘free hours’.  I think the Prado is like 6pm to 8pm on weekdays and Sundays.  It’s pretty cool because if you want to keep going back, it can get pretty expensive.

So I went to the Prado!

I have to say…my absolute favorite museum.  There’s so much there.  I was there for over 4 hours.  And I know I missed a few rooms.

There’s everything from Roman sculptures all the way up to a few works from the late 1800’s.  And there’s work from Germany, Flanders, Italy, France, England and especially Spain.

I remember doing an art unit in my Spanish 3 class.  And it was really awesome.  We learned all about different painters and works.  But there is nothing like seeing those works in the museum.

When we studied Las meninas, it was a picture on the screen.  The painting is actually HUGE.  Like it’s ginormous.  It’s amazing.  I can’t even explain it to you.  You just have to be there.  Seriously.

I always wonder about the frames.  Who picks out those things???  One of the paintings is in a frame three times bigger than the painting itself.  Really?  Really?  And some are just plain ugly as all hell.

And there’s something totally awesome about walking into a room and seeing a painting and automatically knowing who the painter is.  It’s kinda like ‘heck yeah. i’m cool.  i know who did that.’

And they have one of the largest collections, if not the largest, of Goya’s work.  Currently, they have over 1,000 of his pieces.

That includes La maja desnuda and La maja vestida.  The two lovely ladies below.

Clothed Maja and Naked MajaOr maybe I should say lady.  It’s actually the same woman.  No one is exactly sure who she is.  Some say that it is the Duchess of Alba, Goya’s supposed lover.  The story goes that a man of the church asked Goya to paint these.  I have always heard it was a Bishop, but I don’t know much more than that.  When he was alone in the office, he has the Naked Maja up on the wall, but before someone entered he would switch them around so that whoever went to visit would see the Clothed Maja.

Scandal.  I know.

So here is what I consider to be the other goodie by Goya.

Carlos IV of Spain and His FamilyLa familia de Carlos IV.  It’s a painting of King Carlos IV and his family.  Ok?  Here comes the fun part.  Where is the king?  Hint: he’s the one in black.  Now, who is in the center of the painting?  If you were going to say the king, you’re wrong.  That would be the Queen, María Luisa.  Why is that a big deal?  Because the king is supposed to be in the middle.  This insinuates that it was the queen, not the king, that ran things.

King Carlos IV was also known as the Clock King.  Supposedly, all he did every day was going around the Royal Palace winding all the clocks.

The boy she is holding onto is her son.  The prince.  Now look at how he is dressed.  Anyone else look kinda like that?  Yup.  Right.  Go right.  The guy behind the king.  Dressed the same way as the prince.  A general in the Spanish Army.  So why are the prince and the general dressed the same?  Because they might be father and son.  Oh yeah.  That’s right.  There were rumors that the king was impotent and/or gay.  No one is sure.  That’s why he walked around the palace winding clocks.  So Goya gets to have his opinion in the painting.

Oh and he gives a nod to Velazquez.  That’s Goya in the back left corner.  It’s a nod to Las meninas.

So totally awesome.  And so many paintings have stories behind them.  I don’t have time to name the ones that I know.  Trust me on this one.

A trip to the Prado is more than worth the money.  End of story.  Just go.




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