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My name is Scott and I like to travel. There I said it, wow that does feel better. There is probably a program for my affliction somewhere. I am what I would consider a Normal Guy. I am a native Arizonan, sometimes we are called “Zonies”. I am in my mid 40′s and enjoy a great life. I am self employed and have a wonderful daughter and Partner. Although I would say my life is a fairly normal one, I am also quite lucky in that I have the ability to travel and enjoy the world, I enjoy learning about other cultures and experiencing the world around us. I want to be right upfront about the type of travel I enjoy and the type I don’t. You will probably not ever read a story of about me backpacking my way through the serengeti during the height of summer, nor will you probably read any stories of me sleeping in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton in Paris. I am not a budget traveler, nor am I an uber luxury traveler, I fall somewhere in the middle, where most people fall I believe. I started this blog for the sole purpose of sharing my stories, my views and my excitement for traveling around this world with my friends, family. However it doesn’t stop there for me, I also wanted to make friends with others around the world, those who travel and those who dream of travel. Blogs and Websites evolve over time, mine will no doubt expand over time as well please come back and see what has taken place. However if you have come to my blog to schedule a flight or a hotel, this is not the place.

The Golden Triangle, almost

Wow, I woke at 10 a.m., I really was tired.  But the good news is that I feel awesome and I am now on the right time and my body is in sync with Madrid.  Today is a day to explore and experience some of the beauty and the beast of Madrid.  So we set out to explore, just call us Dora the Explorer!  We have decided to go to the “Golden Triangle”, what is that you ask?  No, it’s not some slang or sexual euphemism.  The Golden Triangle is made up of 3 of Spain’s greatest Museums.  They are all within a short distance of one another and placed on a map form a Triangle, original isn’t it.

The World Famous, Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and The Reina Sofia are the three museums that make up the Golden Triangle. Today we plan to visit all 3 museums, each is only about 5 minute walk from the other, so it’s possible.

Ok, correction, it is NOT possible.

A little Prado History

The Prado was our first museum of choice today, and our last.  We spent more than 5 hours at this Museum, much more than I anticipated and we didn’t even see everything.  During our visit the museum had a couple special exhibits that we simply didn’t get to and I was disappointed, however there is only so much you can do in one day.   I want to share with you a little history of The Prado.

Charles III of Spain, who reigned from 1759-88, believed that Madrid should boast the same amenities as Europe’s other fine capitals. So, he went about building wonderful museums and other attractions, attempting to make this Castilian town equal to cities like Rome, Paris and London.  The Prado Museum was one of those attractions.  This highly-acclaimed art museum is one of the most-visited attractions in Madrid, summoning the attention of lovers of great art from around the world with its expansive collection of a variety of works.

The specifications for The Prado, originally planned as a Natural History Museum, were approved in 1785. Charles III knew exactly what he wanted for his museum. The building would be expansive with a grand rotunda, a central gallery full of natural light, and a cube-shaped space on either end. Designed in the neo-Classical style, the building would be the envy of many and construction was soon under way.

The Spanish War of Independence caused construction to stop, and for several years, the partially completed building was used by the Calvary.  A fire destroyed part of the building during the war and many construction materials were stolen.

After the war, construction on The Prado started once again, under the direction of King Ferdinand VII, and 10 years later, the attraction opened its doors as The Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture.

By the early 1900s, the structure had already outgrown its huge collection of artwork and additions were necessary. The first addition was made in 1918 and more rooms were added again in the 1950s and 60s. Two additional buildings, Casón del Buen Retiro and the Palacio de Villahermosa, became part of the complex at a later date, providing yet more room to display the Prado Museum’s amazing collection.

I have found a new appreciation for some of the best Artists that the World has ever seen after this visit.  There is a reason this is considered one of the Best Museums in the World.  The amount of art and masterpieces that are on exhibit here is spectacular.  This museum holds some of the greatest paintings from the 14th century through the 19th.  Spanish, German, French, Flemish, Italian, British and Dutch paintings from the likes of Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, El Greco, Caravaggio, Ribera, Velazquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya and so many more.

Goya

Ribera, Jacob’s Dream

El Greco, Agony in the Garden

Raphael, The Cardinal

I have not really been a big fan of El Greco or Goya for that matter, until I saw their works here.  Specifically Goya.  This museum has an excellent collection from Goya’s Black period.  The paintings are haunting, extreme, depressive and expressive.  To this day, there is no clear understanding about what made him paint these very different paintings.  I have also become a new fan of Lucian Freud, Morisot, Egon Schielle and Samuel S. Carr.  The collection in The Prado, has also reaffirmed the fact that I do not like Paul Gauguin, I have tried, I just don’t like his work.

Goya, Witches Sabbath

Although we weren’t able to visit all 3 Museums in one day, we did make it back to the Thyssen and the Sofia.  Unfortunately the one day we wanted to Visit the Reina Sofia it was closed.  So, on to the Thyssen Bornemisza.

It is important to know that if you intend to visit The Prado, and you should.  It’s collection is predominately a Religious renaissance collection, if that is not to your liking, then you may want to visit the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza where you will find some of the World’s Masterpieces from the likes of Salvador Dali, Van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Picasso, Camille Pissaro, Cezanne, Warhol,  Monet, and one of my favorites Degas.  In fact the best painting I saw during my visit to the Museums of Madrid is a Degas, The Ballerina.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza

History of Thyssen

The collection started in the 1920s as a private collection by Heinrich, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kaszon (1875–1947). In a reversal of the movement of European paintings to the United States during this period, one of the elder Baron’s sources was the collections of American millionaires coping with the Great Depression and inheritance taxes, from which he acquired such exquisite old master paintings as Ghirlandaio’s portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni.  The collection was later expanded by Heinrich’s son Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921–2002), who assembled most of the works from his relatives’ collections and proceeded to acquire large numbers of new works to produce what is one of the world’s finest private art collections.

In 1985, the Baron married Carmen Cervera (a former Miss Spain 1961) and introduced her to art collecting. Carmen’s influence was decisive in persuading the Baron to decide on the future of his collection and cede the collection to Spain. The museum was opened in 1992 after an agreement was reached between the Baron and the Spanish government. A year later, the collection was bought outright.

The Baroness remains involved with the museum. She personally decided the salmon pink tone of the interior walls and in May 2006 publicly demonstrated against plans of the Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon to redevelop the Paseo del Prado as she thought the works and traffic would damage the collection and the museum’s appearance.

Camille Pissaro

PIcasso, Harlequin with a mirror

Degas, Swaying Dancer

Picasso

Whatever type of Art you prefer to look at and experience, you will find it within the Golden Triangle of Madrid.  Whatever you do, plan some time to visit these Museums, you won’t be disappointed.

Happy Travels

http://www.travelwithscott.com

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