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Sorolla, El Pintor

3 Jul

I had the chance to go on a field trip with the fourth grade classes awhile back. The trip was to the Sorolla museum, a Spanish painter I had never heard of but is very famous here. The museum was actually the painter’s old mansion that had been converted into a gallery of his work after he died, and was only a 10 minute walk from my apartment. Turns out, Sorolla maybe be one of my favorite artists, right up there with Monet!

"Paseo por la Playa" by Sorolla. Probably his most famous painting.


"La barca" by Sorolla. He was known for his beach scenes, which he copied from his own photographs of his family.

What I liked best was the way Sorolla captured light in his paintings and that despite only using a few colors in each one, they were still brilliant. (I also liked that I understood 97% of the tour, which was all in Spanish!) I thought I’d give this museum a plug because it is less known than the enormous Prado and Reina Sofia museums but worth the visit. Cheap, short and sweet.



Back to the Land that I LOVE

7 May

Yes, Italy! Laura and I’s next stop during Semana Santa was Florence. It’s the fourth city I’ve visited in Italy only a month after my trip with Beau. My general rule while here has been to try not to repeat countries and cities since there is so much still to see, but I can’t stay away from Italy. Going to Florence only reaffirmed that I am in love with everything about that country and absolutely MUST retire there one day…maybe with my own bed & breakfast.

Every city in Italy has had a homey and laid-back feeling with a hint of complete awesomeness in the air while also still staying true to itself and standing apart from all of the others. Venice was romantic, Cinque Terre was beautiful like I’ve never seen before and Rome was enormously impressive, Florence was artsy. From the sculptures in Piazza Signoria and the Dumo to the panoramic views from Piazzale Michelangelo, the entire city is a piece of art.

One of the statues in front of Palazzo Vecchio, the old palace.


The Dumo and baptismal chamber in front.


Night view of the city from across the Arno River at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo.

 I love Florence for more than just its art and beauty. The center of the city is compact, so it’s completely walkable and doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to get anywhere on foot. This convenience made it easy to really get to know the city and eat the best paninis (mmmm fresh cheese and yummy truffle sauce) and gelato (sheep cheese is the BEST flavor in the world). We walked though all the markets, which smelled of genuine leather, and shopping streets filled almost exclusively with high-end stores. Next time I am in Florence, I will have a bigger shopping budget!!

My favorite two things were definitely seeing The David and going to a wine tasting. The David absolutely is as amazing as everyone claims it is. The larger-than-life sculpture is so detailed, I honestly thought his skin was glowing in the light. It really puts all other sculptures to shame.

The Accademia's main attraction.


Bravo Michelangelo!

 I had never been to a wine tasting before, but this one will surely be one of the best I ever go to. Our host, Pinot (as in Pinot Grigio? LOL), really knew his stuff. He told us all about Tuscan wines, three of which we got to sample…if “sample” means two or three glasses of each, haha. We also tried extra virgin olive oil and 10-years-aged balsamic vinaigrette that was to die for! (And cost 35 euro!) We ate and drank all we wanted, then I bottle one bottle of each wine we tried.

Florence was an especially great trip because we stayed with Laura’s friend, Maddie, who was a great host and tour guide! The people were so nice there, as they have been everywhere in Italy and which always makes a place more memorable. I  Italia!


Third time’s the charm

12 Oct

Some friends and I really tried to do a lot of things today. We tried to go to the Reina Sofia museum, which is usually open and free today, but it was closed for the holiday. NBD, we were told that the Thyssen museum was free today, too, so we went there. It looked awesome, but wasn’t free…and today we were only looking for free things to do. On the third try we succeeded and went to Prado museum. I’ve been once since I got to Madrid, but the first time was only for about 45 minutes because we were all tired, hungry and hungover, ha.


Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Everyone raves about this museum so I can't wait to go!



In front of Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. "Siempre pagas." I'll go back after I get my first check, ha.


Prado is huge! It has classical paintings and sculptures, unlike the other two that house modern and contemporary artwork. I appreciate all art, but am usually a little less drawn to the portraits and still-life paintings that make up a lot of Prado. I really did like the art depicting the life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and I LOVED the work by Francisco de Goya! He was incredibly talented. The faces of his portraits are so realistic they almost look like photographs. I especially like some of his smaller paintings that weren’t commissioned work. My favorite of those was “Flight of the Witches”.  I also loved “Naked Maja” and “Clothed Maja”, which hang right beside each other. Besides being great paintings, they kind of made us laugh.


"Naked Maja" and "Clothed Maja" by Goya



"Flight of the Witches" by Goya


I definitely took “Flight of the Witches” as gory because of the name, but it’s explanation set the record straight and is what made this painting my favorite from today. The hats worn by the “witches” resemble the hats of religious leaders and the masonic snakes on the hats represent knowledge. The “witches” are breathing wisdom into this person, saving them from ignorance, which is represented by the donkey and two men covering their eyes and ears. (I definitely thought the “witches” were eating someone and the men were running away.) Cool, right?



Front of Museo del Prado.


I really do LOVE pottery

10 Oct

I must get this from my mom, but I’ve always loved beautiful pottery. I especially love the tile, vases, bowls and plates that make up the Carranza collection at Santa Cruz Museum. All of the pieces are from different areas of Spain but share a very Mediterranean look (in my opinion, but I’m no expert). The white backgrounds are painted mostly with blue and yellow and sometimes green or with metallic bronze and silver colors. Some of the pieces are decorated with various designs and others show depictions of legends and history. The depictions were my favorite. I took my time walking through this exhibit, looked at everything and took lots of pictures.