Nasrid Palaces plasterwork sketch
amazing dimensional plasterwork on the ceiling
intricate interweaving of image and text
reflecting pool at night
Also at the Alhambra I also saw "Infinite Universes," a fantastic exhibition of lithographs and woodcuts by M.C. Escher, which placed in context with the architecture really added to my understanding of his work and influences. Apparently Escher travelled to the Alhambra shortly after completing his studies and made numerous sketches. The geometric, interlocking designs of the Islamic tiling, carpentry and plasterwork had a very evident impact on his ideas and artwork. I thought the exhibition text described his work particularly well as "not idealising reality, but rather about provoking the meeting of different realities that act through reciprocity or exchange... worlds embedded within other worlds in a continuous infinite succession."
Escher, "Encounter", lithograph
Granada from the Alhambra
going out to meet the mountains
Although, for me, the Sierra Nevada was more awe-inspiring than any man-made cathedral/structure, I did enjoy seeing the Royal Chapel in Granada, a stunning gothic style chapel centred around magnificent tombs of carved stone representing royal figures. There were also some great paintings in the Royal Chapel Sacristy Museum of which I particulary enjoyed the sensitive, finely detailed Flemish painters Rogier Van Der Weyden and Hans Memling.
Hans Memling, "The Virgin and Child on the Throne"
The Museo de San Juan de Dios was another interesting historic building, the house/hospital of Saint John of God who once cared for sick and needy people in Granada. I had a delightful guide who led me around the museum, speaking good English, but when that failed enthusiastic sound effects usually got the point across! I learnt a lot about the specific symbolism of the house/museum, which was adorned with numerous pomegranates (the symbol of the order of Saint John of God), relics such as the knee-bone, rib-bone and basket of Saint John of God as well many exotic gifts from numerous countries around the world where chapters of the order of Saint John of God still exist (Australia had a minimal representation with a couple of boomerangs in the bottom of a cabinet!). There were some great paintings, but my favourite objects were a collection of walking sticks with carved handles featuring animals and other fantastic creatures.
Speaking of fantastic creatures, I saw this very cleverly camouflaged giraffe (below) while spending time surveying the plentiful and exciting array of street art in Granada, particularly in the Jewish quarter and Albayzín neighbourhood.
unknown artist, Granada