Monday, December 29, 2003

December 28, 2003
The Spanish love traffice circles. They are everywhere, even on freeway off-ramps. The worst are in the cities where multiple lanes meet cars from other directions and then all the lanes disappear and everyone starts jockeying at 40 mph in a circle. Just pucker city.

This morning, we snuck out of Toledo at 7:30 and drove up to Madrid to catch the Manet show at El Prado. It is free on Sunday's so we expected huge lines. We managed to get in line in the TWA-light and got in relatively easy. By the time we got out the lines went all the way down the block.

Manet is one of my heroes, and I wasn't disappointed in the show, but I have to say, the local boy Velasquez is the real king of the hill. Madrid has a huge collection of his paintings so they were able to combine derivative paintings to show where Manet (who is French) got his inspiration or in some cases outright stole concepts or themes. The end result is a stunning appreciation of Velasquez that I never had before. He was a monster painter. No one has ever achieved what he was able to do in the 16th Century! If you took all of the giants (in my mind) and that would be Tolouse Latrec, Van Gough, Rembrandt, Remington, Russell, Rockwell, Wyeth and John Singer Sargent and stacked them up, one on each other shoulders, they still would not reach Velasquez's armpit. He's that amazing. Unbelievable really. The expressions, the luminosity is as current as if it was painted this morning.

Kathy and I also took a cab to the Joaquin Sorolla Museum which is not far (the kids went shopping). He is another painter I discovered on this trip who I really admire (Buckeye Blake told me to watch for him and I saw his work at Valencia last week and made a vow to catch his museum in Madrid). He is also bold and loose. Really enjoyed it. And of course, all museums are free in Spain on Sundays so that was nice.

We had a money meltdown several nights ago and I'll tell that story tomorrow.

"Oh, I get it. You got your he-hoes and you got your he-has and it all comes together really bonito." -Deena Bell mocking her father as a redneck on vacation in Spain (hija and hijo are Spanish for son and daughter)

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