Let’s get cultural, cultural!
Here’s my personal tour of Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain. Including some of my favorites and the classics.
So the museum classifies art by category and I happen to do the same. However, I think my categories are a bit more descriptive and have better titles, but I might be biased.
BABIES DOING ADULT THINGS
1. Prince Baltasar Carlos on Horseback. –Diego Velazquez
This is one of 5 portraits on horseback that Diego Velazquez was commissioned to paint for the Royal Court. The painting uses bright colors that a 5 or 6 year old spanish child could identify in English or spanish. His outfit shows that he has attitude and he doesn’t need his mom’s help or approval in what he wears. His eyes are silently saying, “Look Mama, this ain’t no pony!” The tiny prince is also demonstrating his power by making his baby walking stick visible, which a few years later, he carved into what’s now know as Lincoln Logs.
2. The Infanta Margarita de Austria. – Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo
This portrait was painted by Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo because it was commissioned after Velazquez’s death. Margarita was the daughter of King Phillip IV and Mariana of Austria. She was nine at the time of this portrait but her face says, “nobody puts baby in a corner!!”. Her hair looks freshly cut, dried, and styled, maybe we go to the same guy here in Spain?! Her dress. OMG Her dress is a metaphor for her attitude–BIG. This little girl knows she’s going to marry rich and never even have to lift her pinky finger to drink her afternoon chocolate milkshake.
3. Eugenia Martinez Vallejo, naked. –Juan Carreño de Miranda
OMG it’s a girl! I was convinced it was a boy. Carreño was known for depicting monsters, jesters, and dwarfs that inhabited the Spanish court. I really like this portrait because of her eyes. They say so many things. For example: “Mom, I told you I wanted green grapes!” “When I can eat these grapes?” “Do you think Mom will let me get a training bra soon?”
4. Las Meninas. –Diego Velazquez
Jokes aside, this is my favorite Velazquez portrait and in my top 5 paintings. There are so many things to look at. You could be mesmerized by the dwarf in the green dress. Or you could see Mommy and Daddy (Phillip IV and Mariana of Austria) peeking in to see how the portrait is going. The ultimate inception is seeing Velazquez painting himself painting the portrait. But one of the most important artistic techniques in this portrait is perception and light. You actually feel like you’re looking into a room, not staring at a large piece of paper.
DARK ARTS: interpreted by Goya and not Professor Snape
If this doesn’t give you nightmares, I’m not sure what would. This is one of the pieces in Goya’s Black Paintings. It’s a representation of Saturn devouring one of it’s sons. For this one, I’ll let the painting do the talking.
1. The Clothed Maja. –Francisco de Goya
“Paint me like one of your Spanish girls” ––cut line from the popular movie, Titanic. There are two versions of this Goya portrait, clothed and naked. But I wanted to keep it PG-13 so let’s all keep our clothes on. The woman is actually unknown and adds to the mystery in her eyes. I actually did a report in high school about this portrait and couldn’t help but giggle the entire time while talking about a naked picture, I didn’t laugh this time so you could say I’ve officially grown up.
2. Gentleman with hand on chest. –El Greco
Winner of the 2016 best portrait titles.
This Greco portrait is the final project of a six part series. He created 5 other similar portraits of men in fancy white shirts with a black coat. The sitter is unknown however there are many suspects, including one of my previous college professors. Hmm the timing doesn’t add up but, I’m 26% sure it might be Dr. Castro.
3. The Cardinal. –Rafael
Runner-up to 2016 best portrait title.
Fun fact: I wrote about this painting in college for a Spanish class. “Rafael painted ‘El Cardenal’ in Rome in 1510 and the Spanish acquired the painting with the help of Carlos VI. You can tell it has influence from Leonarde de Vinci. It has the same style, where the body forms a triangle between the nose and arms. It’s a good quality painting, with bright colors and aspects of light, which make it life-like.” (Mattes, 2012)