people in the park outside the Prado, Madrid
Museo Sorolla, an extraordinary collection of Sorolla’s work presented in his historic house, gave me a valuable insight into both Sorolla’s life and work. Sorolla’s use of light and colour is particularly inspiring and I was very interested in the strong abstract shapes and compositions underlying many of his figurative works.
Joaquin Sorolla, “Siesta”
Joaquin Sorolla, “Cordeleros de Avea”
The Caixaforum was a unique and exciting combination of modern ideas in architecture and museum layout. The fantastical “living wall” growing high on the outside of the building created a rich, organic combination of texture and colour, which contrasted with the dark geometric cave-like space where the museum entrance was located. The temporary exhibition, “A Floating World: The Photography of Jacques-Henri Lartigue”, was a celebration of technology, speed, and life in the early 20th century. I really enjoyed the artist’s numerous quotes and diaries, which conveyed the thoughts and ideals that drove him to create photographs, particularly the desire to halt the perpetual flow of time, "ever since I was a young boy, I've suffered from a kind of disease: all the things that amaze me slip away without me being able to store them well enough in my memory" (Lartigue).
The Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, once a great art school and now a museum, is also home to the Calciografia Nacional where I had the privilege of meeting a master-printer in the workshop. It was really a treat to look inside the printmaking studio to see the 18th century Spanish wooden presses as well as examples of prints from contemporary artists that are currently being made. One of the highlights of my trip was the opportunity to see and study the extensive collection of Goya’s copper etching plates (“Disparates”, “Los Caprichos”, “Tauromaquia”, “Desastres de la Guerra”), which gave me a different perspective on his creative process and allowed me to study his mark-making technique in the most direct way.
Goya's copper plates
I was also given a tour of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando permanent collection by an extremely kind and knowledgeable guide who placed each painting in the context of art history, helping me to better understand the relationship and aims of movements including Baroque and Neo-Classicism and Mannerism. Mannerism is a captivating style that I previously had little exposure to where elongation and stylisation is often used in scenes of powerful emotion.