On Tuesday Carlos took us on a lightning tour of the high spots in Madrid. La Santa Iglesia Catedral de santa María la Real de la Almudena, including the old church underneath the 20th century structure. The Royal Palace where we saw a room full of Stradavari instruments: violins, violas, and cellos. The Prado, where we only had time for Velasquez and Goya, including a new exhibit of Goya’s Pinturas Negras, surreal and dark paintings of subjects such as witches and the Fates. Jet lag was hitting Anne Mei by then and we went back to the apartment for a nap. After which we walked in the lovely Retiro park.
I asked to go to Museo Sorolla because I wanted to see the original of a print hanging in our living room. The print was in Laura’s house in Philadelphia, moved with us to Freehold and then Griggstown. It now hangs in Princeton, kitty-corner to her mother’s Michigan flowers where I can see it every time I go in or out of the apartment. The museum is the artist’s house, fronted by cooling gardens in the style of Granada. The other paintings in the museum display the artist’s explorations of light, reflections, and shadows so prominent in the painting I came to see Paseo a orillas del mar.
Speaking of shadows, I was struck by Sorolla’s painting of women on a train called Tratas Blancas. Carlos explained that the title referred to what we would call “white slavery,” human trafficking. A somber contrast.