Thursday, December 30, 2004

So there I am in Madrid. . .

There was tons of stuff that could have caught my attention and started me blogging away. I went through the Madrid train station, after all. I saw plenty of policemen with Uzis. There was a Palace big enough to make King George envious. There was Guernica, which I have already called "Fallujah" in another post. There were at least thirty paintings of the crucifixion in the Prado, and there's a comparison to Abu Ghraib just dying to be made, now isn't there? Then there's that confusing painting by Velasquez, Las Meninas, that twists the very notions of perspective that it might very well stand as a metaphor for our current Administration. I even, one day, strolled into a square that was getting the pyrotechnics ready for the celebration of the New Year. Evidently it is custom for children to dress up on that day, so there were fireworks being sold next to masks. The irony was not lost, as we were just a mile or so from that train station.

But, no. While these items might have sparked some good debate, those likages are far too easy. Besides, I was much more impressed by the unassuming Museo Sorolla. It is a museum dedicated to a man perhaps as apolitical as they come, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida. And yet, his works are once and at the same time bold and tender, sweet and strong. Perhaps the cheap thing to say is that the only thing he shares with Mr. Bush is "Bastida."

It was tremendously odd to go from the the BBC broadcast of the tragedy in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia and be confronted with a painting such as El bano del caballo, a painting of a nude boy leading a horse out of the surf. On the one hand we see the awesome force of nature, and here with Sorolla's work we see kindness and innocence within that power.

I'm energized and will be blogging regularly soon. Consider this to be the answer to your "What did you do for winter vacation" questions.