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On Day Two we headed straight to the Prado.  There’s not much I can add to the story told in one of the world’s great galleries.  We made a beeline straight to the far corner of the ground floor where the extraordinary Black paintings by Goya are located.  Walking in I was instantly riveted by The Drowning Dog.  If you leave aside the facture in this smallish picture the image is startingly contemporary – the stark minimal ground in two colours with that small, almost dashed off, number of very few brushstrokes of the dog’s head.  And the rest of those haunting paintings fill the room with amazing images that are nothing short of pure genius.  From that room you pass through another space before entering the room with the 2nd and 3rd July pictures – both larger than I had expected but just as spectacular.  The Velasquez’s are just as staggering, Las Meninas of course is the stand out but there are so many others.  Then the Garden Of Earthly Delights by Bosch – surely still one of the craziest pictures ever made…some of that imagery I swear could only be the result of an encounter with an alien race!  And there are so many other great paintings to swallow up, a clutch of top notch El Greco’s, a marvellous Titian (one of several) and a stunning Fra Angelico.  We did four hours…by which time I was getting ‘picture blind’ and so the rest of the afternoon was resting up our critical faculties in the lovely Parque del Retiro…a great location to relax in and unwind from the ‘masterpiece’ overdose.

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In one part of which is this pavilion..a ‘loose’ copy of the Crystal Palace in the UK, the one that burnt down, that was hosting yet another contemporary art installation by a Czech artist called Jiri Kovanda.  Entitled ‘Two Golden Rings’ it comprised a twine that circled the inner space of the pavilion wrapping itself around the central pillars.  From only a few yards away the ‘piece’ was pretty much invisible…once inside it ‘revealed’ itself.

IMG_2410The picture above gives you the ‘jist’ of it.  For a few minutes as I wandered around the outer side of it I got to thinking that it was but one ‘golden ring’ but then…just off to the central ‘dog leg’ of the building there were a gaggle of folk and an attendant…

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gathered around a rounded off ‘cube’ of matting.  Ah ha! the second ‘golden ring.  And the blurb says that he “proposes a poetic reflection on questions such as existential precariousness, the sense of loss, the tendency towards entropy or the notion of impurity.”  Oh dear…

And I shall refrain from any comment on the show by Heimo Zobernig in the superb spaces of the Palacio de Velázquez.  Suffice to say that the back half of the afternoon was a far cry from the joys of the morning.

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Dinner at the wonderful Casanis – pretty much a sensation…a Bouillabaisse of exquisiteness, followed by a Turbot dish worthy of a two star Michelin joint.  Washed down with a decent white from Bordeaux.

 

 

 

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