Friday, April 17
An exchange of emails landed me a spot on an English language tour of the Cerralbo and I presented myself promptly at 11:15 on Friday. There is little signage in this museum. Mostly standing plaques at the entry to a room offer a general statement about its use, with a few items identified for particular notice. Very few painters are named in any room or gallery, and several that have identifying plaques, with the exception of an El Greco, turn out to be not genuine. That said, it’s refreshing assess paintings and objet d’art not by provenance or the reputation of the artist, but purely how they strike you in the moment.
Recall the weaponry that the Marquis collected? Here’s is a tidy quartet of daggers.
Compare them to his collection of Bronze age weaponry. Below is a centerpiece made entirely of swords belong to his ancestors. He was the XVII of his line. Here’s the smoking room, adjacent to swords central. These rooms were considered an all-male preserve. I was thinking it would not be a good idea to have a bunch of touchy aristos slamming brandy around all that weaponry.
And here I am, badly lit but happy as can be, in one of the hall galleries.
While at university, the Marquis founded an art and literature society, La Alborada (Dawn). He wrote poems and romantic novels. He collected what he considered beautiful, and filled his home with luxury, opulence, and heaps of ornate objects. The reason Spain has this museum is there was no Marquis the XVIII. He had no heirs. Fun fact – he married the mother of his best friend at school, a widow who was no beauty and thirty years his senior. I find myself wondering what their story was.
Here’s one of a pair of statues at the entrance to the ballroom.
Lunch was kind of a fluke. I was walking by the post office, AKA Cibeles Palace, and remembered a blogger mentioning great views and a café or restaurant inside. Just curious, I went through the security scanner and headed inside. Yes, there was a café, but also a restaurant, higher up on the 6th floor.
The hostess said ‘May I invite you to look at the menu?” before they led me to a table. I appreciated their discreet way of warning me what I was getting my wallet into. This is why I make my own breakfast and eat cheese, fruit and ham from the market for dinner. I saw the numbers, did some math, and rolled the dice.
I should’ve bought a lottery ticket too.
A gorgeous view on a perfect day. Gargoyles to the right of me, clouds scudding by to the left, and a fresh breeze to cool the sun. It was pricey but well worth it. The kind of joint that brings on the amuse-bouche of strawberry soup and little bites when all you order is the sea bass entreé. A culinary highlight.
One small caveat, at these prices, don’t you think they should’ve hired a proof reader?