Archive for August 15th, 2018

August 15, 2018

The Prado museum of Madrid!

And lets tackle this huge institution, not an easy task lol! So will be as brief as possible,just for a taste to bring you in to a fascinating world of the arts. This time from the Spanish angle sort of speaking.

I admit while younger my world was without museums, it took  quite later in life ,even after marriage and maturity per se to start enjoying them. Prado museum in Madrid was big then and it is bigger today; however,in my days in the city never in my wildest dream thought of going in.  To me was just a nice facade on Paseo del Prado. My interest was for some reason no part of it, the Cason del Buen Retiro as it was then part of the Retiro park, now part of the Prado museum, and even then was just a way to hang around the area with friends.

The museum came much later , when in 2004, visiting the city with my family, and passing by walking , on a whim , we decided to go in, and lucky tickets were had easily then.  Well, it was an eye opener and have come back later couple times. The Prado encourage me to visit the Louvre later on and also catch up with me.  I am a friend of both museums today.

MAdrid

I had written a small pice on the museum triangle in Madrid in my blog, just a brief introduction and would like to remind all here: Museums triangle in Madrid

Now, let get into the history of it that I like a lot as the portraits description etc will take a book lol!

The Prado Museum ( Museo Nacional del Prado) is one of the largest and most important museums in the world. It presents mainly European paintings (Flemish, Spanish, French, Italian and German) from the 14C to the beginning of the 19C, collected by the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. The museum also holds collections of drawings and prints (some 6 400 drawings and 3 000 prints), a fund of a thousand sculptures (including an important collection of Greco-Roman sculptures) and a large number of decorative objects and historical documents. It permanently exhibits a collection of 1 300 works in its site, plus 3 000 lent to be exhibited in other galleries and official institutions.

The original, neoclassical-style central building, which now serves as a seat at the Prado National Museum, was built on the initiative of José Moñino y Redondo, count de Floridablanca and chief minister of king Carlos III. It is designed by the architect Juan de Villanueva in 1785 as a natural science house. Because of the events of history, however, the construction will only be completed under king Fernando VII, grandson of Carlos III. Driven by his wife, Queen Maria-Isabel of Portugal, the king took the decision to make this building a Royal museum of paintings and sculptures.

The museum initially feeds on Royal collections, hence its first name as a Royal museum. It was soon renamed National Museum of Painting and Sculpture and, subsequently, Museo Nacional del Prado, it opened for the first time to the public in 1819. In 1868, after the fall of Queen Isabel II of Spain, the works of art of the monarchy became the heritage of the Spanish nation. In 1872 , it was closed the Museo de la Trinidad,(Trinity museum) enriched with Works of arts and nationalized due to the laws of Mendizábal 1836, and its treasure was transferred to the Prado.

After this merger, the Prado was renamed the National Museum of Painting and Sculptures, a designation that had hitherto had the Trinity Museum. This denomination remained until 1920, year in which by Royal decree officially received the current name of National Museum of the Prado, which was as it was known habitually already before, for having built the building in grounds of the old meadow(prado) of the Jerónimos. The Museum of Modern Art (M. A. M.)  went to the National museum dedicated to the arts of the 19C and 20C as opened  from 1894 to 1971, the year in which its collections of 19C art  were absorbed by the Prado, while those of the 20C remained in the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Arts (MEAC) , predecessor of the current Reina Sofía Museum.

In addition to the Royal collections, the museum receives many works of art as a result of the interpretation of the before mention law of 1836 which forces the Church to sell a large part of its possessions. In addition, the museum benefits from the very important donations of private collectors, including Francesc  Cambó, Pablo Bosch and Ramón Errazu, as well as the works brought by the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado (The Friends of the Museum Foundation). Spanish webpage here: Fundacion Amigos del Museo del Prado

And it has an American counterpart in English here: Americans Friends of the Prado Museum

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Its main attraction lies in the wide presence of Velázquez, El Greco, Goya (the most widely represented artist in the museum), Titian, Rubens and Bosco, of which possesses the best and most extensive collections that exist worldwide, to which we must add outstanding ensembles of important authors such as Murillo, Ribera, Zurbarán, Rafael, Veronese, Tintoretto, Van Dyck , and Poussin, to name just a few of the most relevant.

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The museum has the largest collection of Spanish paintings in the world. It includes works that extend from Romanesque art from the 12C to the end of the 19C. The collection of Italian paintings is the second collection of the museum, although it is relatively poor in works prior to the 16C. But it is from the 16C that the Italian collection of the Prado takes its full dimension. Italian Baroque painting is certainly one of the main points of interest of the Prado collections by the variety of artists and the quality of the works that can be admired.

Madrid

The collection of Flemish paintings is also among the very first in Europe, since Flemish primitives, Flemish painting of the 17C is also particularly well represented with a considerable collection of paintings.  The collection of French paintings consists mainly of works of the 17C and 18C. The ténèbrisme is also represented of the portrait makers of the Court of Spain, also of the Masters of the Rococo the museum presents finally some 19C painters.The collection of German paintings is reduced but of high quality, as well as a small collection of English paintings is also presented most were acquired by the museum in the years 1950.

Even more reduced, hardly testimonial, is the presence of paintings of the rest of the schools: Hispanic-American (more than twenty, but deposited in the Museum of America), Filipino, Swedish, Danish , American, Central European etc. With regard to the Portuguese school, despite the geographical proximity and the close relationship between the Spanish and Portuguese  monarchies, especially in the early Habsburg era, the presence of paintings from that country is negligible, reducing to six works, almost all of the 19C or early 20C.

The museum architecture look that I like, briefly describe.

 Edificio Villanueva , a building designed by Juan de Villanueva, in its original conception, is formed by a central body finished in apse, which flank two elongated galleries that end in square pavilions, one at each end. Representing an allegory of King Fernando VII as protector of the sciences, the arts and the technique. In its posterior facade, the central section ends in a semicircular form or in an apse, in such a way that its plane adopts a basilical form.

Madrid

Edificio Jerónimos (Building). This enlargement did not make substantial changes to the Villanueva building, and it was reflected in an extension to the Jerónimos cloister so that the museum would have enough space for its growing needs. The increase of the available surface was 15 715 square meters, a 50% more . The connection between both buildings is underground (on the side of the Jerónimos building), because it takes advantage and covers the height between the Jerónimos (Calle Ruiz de Alarcón) and the Paseo del Prado. The most visible improvements of this intervention affected the attention to the visitor (vestibule, bar-restaurant, lockers, shop), the extension of the exhibition spaces, with four new rooms for temporary exhibitions on two floors and the habilitation of the Cloister as sculpture display room; a new auditorium and a conference room, as well as other spaces for internal use (restoration, warehouses and the cabinet of drawings and prints.

Madrid

Cason del Buen Retiro is one of the dependencies of the old palace of the Retiro park that have come to our days(my hangouts around as youth nice area ok). Conceived as a ballroom of that palace, it was very much damaged after the war of Independence (1808-1814), after being occupied and partially destroyed by the French troops. The subsisting part, already as an autonomous building and separated from what was the former palace, was the subject of several renovations throughout the 19C. It was then endowed with monumental neoclassical facades, of which the western side with a scenographic colonnade, opposite the Retiro Park in the 20C, was used as an exhibition hall, hosting several of the most important events (what I remember living in Madrid was used). Already decided its museum use, it was attached to the Prado in 1971 (was there for the opening lol!),until 1997 the section corresponding to the art of the 19C, after the reorganization of the State collections of painting and the creation of the Reina Sofía Museum, was thought in as ideal space for the temporary exhibitions of the Prado. Finally, these functions and the painting of the 19C have been transferred to the expansion of Moneo(architect) and the historical building, respectively. After being subjected to a profound reform at the beginning of the 21C, which included the restoration of the vault painted by Luca Giordano in the central hall (allegory of the Golden Fleece ), it is since 2009 the headquarters of the museum’s Study Center, the so-called Prado school , which, following the model of the Ecole du Louvre, is dedicated to research as well as to the training of specialists in the various fields of art history. In this way, the Cason del Buen Retiro currently houses the library of the Prado Museum, with the reading room installed in the main hall under the frescoes of Giordano.

Madrid

Salon de Reinos, (Kingdom’s hall) ,correspond to the main wing (north) of the old Palace of Retiro Park, it receives its name for having originally housed the hall of Kingdoms or of ambassadors, where the king received the foreign dignitaries; This space was conceived as a scenographic  scene of the Spanish monarchy, with large paintings commissioned by king Felipe IV to the principal painters of the time, will endow the Museum of 2500 m² of exhibition space, 16% more, with a total of 5400 m²  of useful space and is expected the works to begin in  2018 .

Madrid

Edificio Aldeasa( building)  located next to the Jerónimos cloister, it is a building of contemporary style in which were the offices of the company Aldeasa, until it was acquired in 1996 by the direction of the patrimony of the State, which was attach to the Prado for to install in it the offices of the museum, until then located in the South attic of the Edificio Villanueva. On the other hand, in the premises of the adjoining building, at no  21 Calle Ruiz de Alarcón, is home to the foundation Friends of the Museum.(Fundacion Amigos del Museo del Prado).  See above.

Sala Prado , the Abulense building known as the House of Miguel del Aguila, by whom it was built in 1546, or, more commonly, as the Palace of the Eagle,(Palacio de las Aguilas)  was bequeathed with all its contents to the state by its last private owner, María Luisa Narváez and Macías,  Duchesse of Valencia, deceased in 1983, for the installation in it of a museum. Initially, in 1992,  was attached to the Museum of Avila, but through a new collaboration agreement between the then Ministry of Education and Culture and the Junta de Castilla y León was changed the assignment, going to the Prado Museum. In this way, this former palace of typical Abulense quarry became the first seat of the Prado outside Madrid, destined to host the center of Deposit Management.

Edificio Calle Pérez Ayuso at no 20  was partially attached to the museum in 2012 by the Ministry of Education, Culture and sport to install in it the new warehouse of frames(portraits).

There is but just a brief description this museum really needs two full days to see at least, you might get hook on it too and stay longer. Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official Prado Museum

Tourist office of Madrid on the Prado Museum

Spanish Culture on the Prado Museum

Hope you enjoy the visit or ride or passing by all there is nice, worth a detour, for a few days lol! Enjoy Madrid and its Prado, and Spain too.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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August 15, 2018

The Mercados , Markets of Madrid!

So now we got a reprive some quick showers to cool off the heat wave coming thru Europe these last few days. We are still lucky to be mild, spots in my beloved Spain had gone to 45C! 113F! yikes! Oh well , it is Spain, everything under the Sun! Here we got the breezes of the Atlantic ocean!

Talking about markets (mercados or mercadillos) here, arise out of a conversation with an old friend from travel forums VT and we are still very much in contact, even been visited in my house! Now, the person is traveling in Spain and took some pictures of markets. Well it gave me an idea not written much on them, just bits and pieces in previous blog posts.

I needed to say, my dear late wife Martine got me to come to all of them, well most of them, she loves them. Hopefully, this will stay with me for the memories. I like to tell you about some of my favorites and yours too, and my family there too. And of course, Madrid because once lived, and many times visited, my(ours) main piece of Spain always will be.

Let me tell you about the most famous market of Madrid, especially from the tourist point of view but , also from the locals ! And the one I actually have a few photos!

Over the aisles, we marvel at the Spanish specialties (hams, olives, fruits and vegetables, etc). The stands offer for some a counter to taste on the spot. Perfect to take the time to discover Madrid gastronomy in an elegant and lively place. High place of life and going out  of the Spanish capital, the Mercado de San Miguel (St Michael market)  is an essential monument for the visitors but also for the locals who meet with friends around a glass and tapas. A few blocks from the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace, the Mercado de San Miguel  is located with its glass, iron and ceramic structure dating from the last century. It’s some 1200 square meters are home to producers and sellers of fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and local specialties; Bars and other restaurateurs.

Madrid

In the Middle Ages already the place was known as an open air market. Many small shops dedicated to crafts are also located in the periphery of the square. A few centuries later, it is the Church of San Miguel de los Octoes (where was baptized Lope de Vega!) that stands at this location. But following a fire which ravaged it in 1790 and the inability to renovate it despite the attempts, Joseph Bonaparte, the invading king of the time, ordered its demolition in 1809. It is then decided to keep this space open in a spirit of development and aeration of the public space. Later It was decided to restore its primary function to the market.  Therefore, from 1809 , the locals take advantage of the new market  which then specializes in the products of the sea. The covered market is finally built between 1913 and 1916.

Madrid

The commercial activity of the market declines little by little since its facilities cannot be competitive in the face of modern supermarkets and shopping malls. After renovations to restore its original appearance, the market reopens its doors in  2009 with traditional products, quality and seasonal products. A company is created to market and support this new idea, the El Gastrónomo de San Miguel, which becomes the majority shareholder of the market with the aim to revive its traditional activity.

This high place of gastronomy offers colorful stalls but also corners with tables and chairs to allow the most gourmets to taste on the spot. Tapas, Iberian ham, paella and other rice dishes, seafood, cheeses and fresh fruit but also local wines and beers find their place on the 33 stalls all more appetizing than the others. Shows are organized regularly to give more life to the Mercado de San Miguel, this place which brings together the cultural, gastronomic and historical aspects of the city. Today the market has made its place among the monuments of Madrid to see is a must.

The market is open every day from 10h to midnight and until 02h  from Thursday to Saturday. The Opera metro station is the closest to the San Miguel market. It is served by lines 2, 5 and R. Bus lines 3, 31, 50 and 65 brings you closer too.

More information can be obtained on the official page in English here: Mercado de San Miguel

And the tourist office of Madrid: Tourist office of Madrid on San Miguel

However, there are others, and some of better value and with history too. The decade of the 1870’s when the city Council began to build covered markets, of which at the end of the century there were already four, all with iron structure. These were the markets of the Mostenses (built in 1875), Cebada (1875), Chamberí (1876) and La Paz (1882). Despite the construction of these new markets, there was still not enough to meet the demand for a growing city, so there continued to be open-air markets in public squares. Madrid has a total of 46 municipal markets and others of private ownership.  Of course, I am not in my wildest dream going to tell you all, too many and long….but will tell you briefly the ones my family and my relatives now living there do go often over the years.

As said, some of my favorites are:

The Mercado de la Cebada. It is one of the largest supply markets in Madrid. It is located in the Plaza de la Cebada (Barley) at no 15, in the neighborhood of La Latina. Works began in the year 1868, and ended in 1875, later it was renewed in 1958 and again in the 2009. The current market has two commercial-use levels with an area of more than 6000 square meters. The two levels are added another level  that makes for a warehouse and  parking underground (392spaces).  More here: Mercado de la Cebada

Madrid

The Mercado de San Antón. It is a supply market located in the neighborhood of Chueca in Madrid. The first building was built in 1945. In the first decade of the 21C the renovation takes place, for this the old building is demolished in 2007, and one is built with new market and restauration services five years later. The name is given due to the Parroquia de San Antón (parish Church). The building is divided into three main floors and completes its offer with a small supermarket Supercor and two basements of automated  parking.  The first floor is dedicated to the sale of perishable products and is divided into twelve traditional market stalls. The second one allows the tasting in its eleven stands and also, cultural activity, since it enjoys a large multifunctional space. On the third floor is located the restaurant and the big terrace of the market, with a view of  the roofstops of the district of Chueca. More here: Mercado de San Anton

The Mercado de Antón Martín (officially, Mercado Municipal de Antón Martín). It is a supply market located in the center of Madrid,  between  Calle Atocha  (next to the parish of San Salvador and San Nicolás) and the Calle de Santa Isabel (next to the cinema Doré). Close to the Plaza de Antón Martín. The market became a covered supply square, which includes a passage between Calle Atocha and Calle de Santa Isabel (Pasaje Doré, by the cinema Doré today linked to the Spanish film library). The project was executed after the Spanish Civil War and was inaugurated in 1941. The 1950s,it was remodeled  the area to built the building that is currently shown. The building has three floors, in the first two are dealt almost half a hundred different sales posts: fishmongers, bakeries, butchers, etc. Being the third dedicated to private activities, the exits of the building goes into the Calle de  Santa Isabel and the Doré passageway. Some of the market stalls are distributed along Calle de Santa Isabel. More here: Mercado de Anton Martin

The Mercado Municipal de Chamberí is located in the district of Chamberí. The market dates from 1876, but after a deep reform was inaugurated in 1943. It has a rectangular plant in a single dimension, in which fifty food stands are distributed. During the celebrations of the Virgin of Carmen celebrated in the neighborhood, the market carries out days of open doors with tasting of typical products of the region.  Smaller but quaint and part of the history of the neighborhood. More here: Mercado de Chamberi

The Mercado de Maravillas.  It is a market located in Calle Bravo Murillo,122. In 1942 the market is inaugurated. It was intended to be in the 1950s one of the largest in the city. It was built on the site that left the school of Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of the Wonders) after the fire that suffered in 1931 in the neighborhood of Cuatro Caminos. The market finished  in the post civil-war period has an area of 8700 square meters and more than 250 stands. It is done in the  Rationalist architectural style. At the beginning of the 21C it is one of Tetuan’s district largest markets. It is a building built on two floors; the ground floor dedicated to the collection and service inside the market, while the second is dedicated to the commercial area. The commercial plant is located at 2 meters of elevation on the main entrance in the Calle Bravo Murillo. The main facade in the Calle Bravo Murillo is of brick seen placed with barebone no cement, with an important canopy in cantilever of reinforced concrete, and the ground floor arcaded with pillars veneered with crystal grey granite. It stands out the large built area of the building of approximately 20,000 m2, of which almost half, 8.800 m2, are dedicated to commercial use and on a single floor.  On the first floor the pillars are steel.  The Sierra tooth-shaped roof, with glazed windows facing north, is highlighted, so that the zenith light gives a unique atmosphere to the interior of the big commercial building. More here: Mercado de Maravillas

The Mercado de San Ildefonso . It is a favorite among residents and frequenters of Malasaña and Chueca district, due to its location on Calle de Fuencarral, right between the two neighborhoods. The market is situated just a few meters from the site of the first covered wholesale food market in Madrid, which was demolished in 1970. The stalls mainly offer ready-made dishes, although they also sell raw ingredients which you can take home or ask to be cooked for you there and then. The food can be eaten at the stalls themselves or, if you fancy a stroll in the sun, you can take it with you.  A strategic stop for neighbors, tourists and regulars between Malasaña, Chueca and Tribunal. The Mercado de San Ildefonso distributes its spaces in three differentiated levels where we find different provisions and possibilities. Complementing the gastronomic stands with three bars, one for each floor, the market also has two terraces, both half covered and perfect to enjoy the outdoor facilities. More here: Mercado de San Ildefonso

The Mercado de Las Ventas (we lived not far but it was not built yet!, we came as visitors!) . It was built in 1995 to replace the old Canillas (quill) Market, founded in the 1940s. Located in front of the bullring of Monumental de Las Ventas. The market has a renowned reputation for the excellent value for money offered to the buyer. A special highlight is the wide range of fresh products of high demand, mainly fruits, vegetables, fish and meats. Among the novelties that it presents with respect to other markets is a gastronomic project through which one will be able to taste the most recognized dishes of all the kitchens of the world thanks to several stands specialized in international cuisine, healthy food and a wine bar with numerous wines with denomination of origin.  Currently has 100 commercial stands spread over two floors of more than 2,000 m2, and the market is equipped with underground parking, banks ATMs and total accessibility (impaired mobility folks) to its facilities. All this, completely refurbished and adapted to its two major projects. One of them, a gymnasium  DreamFit of 4,500 m2 facilities, and a supermarket Ahorramas, opened in December 2016. More here: Mercado de Las Ventas

There you go, wonderful places, should see as much as you can. It will give you not only the thrill of Spanish foods and drinks but the real feel of the local people and their colorful ways of mingling with the crowds even if there is a language barrier. We do appreciate a Hola, or Vale or Muy Bueno ::) or Buen Provecho = bon appétit.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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