For class on Thursday, we went on a cultural field trip to the Reina Sofia museum. The museum is named after the current Queen, Sofia, and houses contemporary art. This museum holds pieces different from the Prado, which I’ve mentioned in previous posts. The Prado holds classic art, such as Baroque and Renaissance styles that are each associated with a specific century. But contemporary art has many styles so there isn’t one that stands out the most. The museum is HUGE so we only saw the highlights of the museum. We saw works by Goya and other artists but then we saw the most important piece in the whole museum: Picassos’s Guernica. This painting is enormous and really weird, but the significance is awesome. As with all big masterpieces, there is controversy over it. The painting is located in Madrid, but the town of Guernica is located in the Basque country. So, obviously, the Basque want it back to put in the Guggenheim, but the Spanish government said no. Madrid 1 – Basque Country 0.
The Guernica is about the bombing of Guernica, where the fascists bombed the town of innocent civilians during the reign of Franco. Immediately, Picasso started working on the piece and 7 weeks later, the 30 foot masterpiece was completed. However, because Picasso is Picasso and was very creative and different with his work, the painting is not pretty or comprehensible. But, of course, each piece of the painting represents something. The two main animals in Spain are bulls and horses, so they’re included. The Spanish word for lightbulb is “bombillo”, representing the bomb that was dropped on the town. It was definitely a cool cultural excursion!
This past Tuesday for class we went on a field trip! You may be wondering if I actually go to school. The answer is yes: I suffer on Thursdays through a 4 hour block class. So the field trip helps counter act the torture. So we went to the Royal Palace of Madrid, because every princess should see their royal home in every city.
The Royal Palace is huge and is very ornate. Of course, we were warned numerous times to not take pictures but I managed to snap a few, but not as many as I would’ve liked. The huge corridor in the front showcases a statue of Felipe II, the great-grandson of the Catholic Kings, Fernando and Isabel. He is the one who ordered the construction of the palace and is commemorated for doing so. Up the extensive marble staircase is the coat of arms and the many grand ballrooms, dining rooms and sitting rooms. Each room has a theme or specific reason to it, similar to the Blue Room in the White House. [There is a Yellow Room in the Palace]. Fun Fact: when Franco died, his body was put on display in the royal palace when Juan Carlos I took over again as a sign of thanks for choosing him to be the newest King. Apparently the line to see Franco’s body was more than a mile long! There is also a huge collection of clocks in the Royal Palace and at least 3 in every room. These clocks were collected by King Felipe II and are grandiose and very old — in fact, these clocks are so old and so important that the Palace has its own team of clock cleaners and repairers. Felipe II was a bit of a strange king because he ordered some interesting features to be added to the palace. For example, during the time of the construction, Asian fashion and designs resembled social status and how up to date you were. So there is an entire room that is overwhelming with depictions of trees, Asian faces and designs and is filled with zen. It was very calming. He also had 3 eating rooms, one for each meal of the day. And he always ate alone without his family. Very weird, but still interesting.
Outside the palace, there is an entire plaza just to itself with gardens and statues representing saints and other noble people. In the center is a statue of Felipe IV, the grandson of Felipe II who constructed the Palace. This statue is very unique because it is made of bronze, which was uncommon for the time. It is also unique because in order to construct it, the statue took 4 masters in the world to help create. One of which was Velazquéz, who painted a portrait for Felipe IV on horseback and his painting was the model for the statue. [The painting is currently hanging in the Prado museum]. Interestingly, one of the other masters to help with this scultpure was Galileo Galilei, whose mathematics and calculations allowed for the horse to be able to stand on its hind legs without falling over. Stay tuned for more field trips! Love, Meg