Tuesday, April 7
I did my laundry this morning and festooned the apartment with tee shirt and jeans, drying on hangers. It was close to noon by the time I walked over to the Museo del Romanticismo. http://museoromanticismo.mcu.es/. I decided to make the most of venturing away from the Prado to a new part of town. I took my time and moseyed along, looking in windows. I found a number of art supply stores I’ll revisit. I bought some Conté sticks here.
Best of all, I stumbled across a great eyeglasses store with interesting frames – my favorite souvenir. I have their card and I will be back with my current prescription in hand.
I was looking for a pair or tortoiseshell or black frames and these have both –
But then I saw these. Can’t decide what’s cooler, the pink and bronze or lavender and bronze.
The museum was a little disappointing, despite the fact it packs in paintings, sculptures, furniture, painted fans, jewelry, carpets, coins, cameos and ceramics. There are way too many bad portraits of unappealing Spanish matrons and wooden-faced señors, and dishonest genre scenes of happy peasants larking about in native dress. A couple of pieces made it all worthwhile: a portrait of three children. The kids are okay, but the ram is really spectacular.
I spent a good hour trying to draw a small painting Mártir, by José María Rodríguez de Losada. It was stark and raw and nothing like those hagiographic images of saints calmly ascending to heaven clasping their instrument of torture. In a small side room, there was a series of small paintings on the Inquisition, which struck me as a bold choice of subject for a painter; like taking on the jihadists nowadays.
The strangest thing was a dollhouse that had tiny nun dolls in their habits, so I guess it was a doll’s nunnery. They were working in a kitchen, singing around a piano and praying in one room.
The last exhibit was a fake house facade with windows the showcased. I three dioramas: a street with a carriage, a kitchen table, and a music room. Projected images materialized – a couple waltzing while a man playing the piano, a couple getting out of a carriage and putting on their gloves, a maid sweeping while a cook kneaded dough – and then disappeared. The mix of miniature props and video imagery was captivating, like watching ghosts from the era.
I was the only person there (besides the guards) for a couple hours. The only other visitors were an English woman and a child who looked about seven years old and was tethered by a leash that resembled a bell pull. The mum had long hair, wore a bright floral dress on a linebacker build, and spoke in a bass voice. They were going through the rooms on a scavenger hunt. They were having a jolly time, couldn’t have been more cheerful.
I somehow missed breakfast – only a cup of tea – kept thinking I’d grab something on the street but I didn’t, and then didn’t get around to lunch until 4. The museum tearoom didn’t open until 2 and I was deep in the collection at that point. This whole change of time zone coupled with standard Madrid lunch at 2 and dinner at 10, has my stomach as confused as my sleep.
Health nut that I am, I ended up eating a cup of coconut gelato after I left the museum. I walked to the San Miguel Market where I ate cone of hot chicharones. I turned down the offer of baby squid tapas that looked exactly like a heap of slimy white worms.
“With garlic,” the counter man said persuasively. “Um, not for me. More for you, brave man!” He laughed at that.
Can’t seem to get bedtime right. I am ready to nod off around 8pm, but make myself stay up until 10, since waking up at 1am is not good. Somehow I get wakeful again and can’t get to sleep until 2am. I sleep until 9am and technically it’s seven hours but I don’t feel rested. Ah well. It’s a small price to pay.
Tomorrow, back to the Prado. Rain is predicted for Thursday, so I’m penciling in the Thyssen instead of the Palace.