Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Spain Reply

Alcazar Seville

Boston.com–A country rich in history, culture, architecture and natural beauty is a country that is rich in happy visitors. Today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Spanish Tourist Attractions and Destinations.

We’ve chosen the monuments, sites, buildings or regions of Spain that attract many visitors each year and are also of historical, architectural or archeological significance.

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The Prado Museum’s New “Second Canvas” App Reply

Here’s the promotional video for Madrid’s Prado Museum’s new “Second Canvas” App that can be downloaded from the Mac AppStore. It features a zoom feature that permits giant blowups of 14 selected masterpieces to gigapixel proportions, plus 60 others to a lesser degree. It also has an X-ray vision feature that permits you to see what’s behind the top layer of paint, as well as commentaries, a TV connection and a Share feature. You might have some fun with it.

Spooky Night in the Prado Museum Reply

Rafael La Perla

This engaging 16-minute video is an interview with Spanish writer, Javier Sierra, on an eerie midnight stroll through the galleries of the Prado Museum with presenter, Iker Jiménez. They start out with Rafael’s Sacred Family (Sagrada Familia), known familiarly as The Pearl (La Perla). According to Sierra there’s something mysterious about this painting, as well as others in the museum. The baby Jesus seems to be looking in the wrong direction. What (or whom) is he looking at? It’s a mystery. There are others, such as The Triumph of Death (El triunfo de la muerte) by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. More…

Spanish Artist/Curator Has Some Fun with the Classics at the Prado Reply

Dolphin Venus Prado

“We’re in the most aquatic room in the Prado,” says Spanish artist, Miguel Angel Blanco, in his introduction to  Natural Histories, the exhibition he curated, on show in the Prado Museum until April 27, 2014. In this three-minute video he comments on the Roman sculpture The Venus of the Dolphin (La Venus del Delfín). The skeleton of a dolphin, lit so as to cast a shadow on the side wall, suspends from the ceiling of the exhibit hall, about which Blanco comments: “It’s not clear if it’s a skeleton or a sculpture…” In all it’s a fascinating and fun show. Don’t miss it if you’re in the vicinity of the Prado this spring.

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The Furies: Political Allegory and Artistic Defiance Reply

The Furies

This exhibition in the Prado Museum (Jan. 21-May 4, 2014) consists of some twenty works by different artists whose protagonists are the “Furies”, four characters from classic mythology who had an important presence in 16th and 17th century European art. Tityus, Sisyphus, Ixion and Tantalus are the “Furies,” characters of mythological origin that became increasingly important in the Renaissance. Their emergence as such in the history of art is dated around the middle of the 16th century. In the Netherlands and Italy, they were considered a suitable theme for illustrating both maximum difficulty in art (they were monumental, nude, muscled figures in complicated poses); and for representing extreme pain, a subject very relevant to baroque sensitivity. More…

Curious French Virgin, Chubby Child and Sinister Angels Reply

Fouquet Madonna Prado

From Museo del Prado.es–Etienne Chevalier, treasurer to the French monarchs Charles VII and Louis XI, commissioned a diptych from Jean Fouquet which remained in the collegiate church of Notre-Dame in Melun until it was split up in the late 18th century. The left-hand panel, now in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie, depicts Chevalier kneeling and accompanied by his patron saint Stephen. More…

Five Free Things in Madrid, from Symphonies to Art Reply

Templo Debod Madrid

Harold Heckle writes for the Associated Press, December 29,2013, MADRID — Spain has for decades been among the world’s top tourist destinations, mainly thanks to sun-seekers who flock each year to Mediterranean beaches or the Canary Islands.

The Spanish capital, with its vast array of bars, restaurants and a rocket-propelled nightlife that often causes traffic jams at 3 a.m., has always appealed to fun-lovers as well as travelers with an interest in history and culture. While top-end hotels and restaurants are expensive, it comes as a relief to find that some of Madrid’s best features can be enjoyed for free. More…

Madrid Artist Miguel Ángel Blanco Takes Prado Back to Its Origins Reply

Natural Histories PradoThe Prado Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time as the Museo Nacional de Pinturas y Esculturas [National Museum of Paintings and Sculptures] on 19 November 1819. However, the Neo-classical building designed by Juan de Villanueva that now houses the Prado was originally the home of the Natural History Collection, commissioned by Charles III in 1785. On the 194th anniversary of the Museum’s founding and to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the death of Villanueva, this project by Miguel Ángel Blanco now pays homage to the Prado’s history and to the little known origins of its building as a Natural History museum. More…

Commented Works in the Prado: “The Senses” by Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder Reply

Senses Bruegel Rubens

As part of the recently closed exhibition in the Prado Museum, “Enclosed Beauty. From Fra Angelico to Fortuny,” Alejandro Vergara, the conservation chief of Flemish painting and the northern schools in the Prado, comments the five curious paintings composing “The Senses” (1617-18), painted jointly by two illustrious friends: Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder, son of Pieter Bruegel. This painting (“Allegory of Sight”) was in part an homage to the Hapsburg Archdukes reigning in the Burgundian court of Flanders at the time (seen in the double portrait at the extreme left of the painting). More…

Currently in the Prado: Velazquez and the Family of Felipe IV Reply

Diego Velazquez

Not since the historic exhibition of Velazquez in 1990–which battered all Prado Museum attendance records–has there been a Velazquez show in the Prado to match the current one, running from 8 Oct. 2013 to 9 Feb. 2014. Javier Portus, chief curator of Spanish paintings at the Prado Museum, has selected 30 of the painter’s later portraits mainly of the Spanish king Felipe IV and his family for this show entitled “Velazquez and the Family of Felipe IV.”

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