Tuesday, September 11, 2012

La Reina Sofia

Taken in the Pinocchio restaurant that
has a panel of mirrors, across the
plaza from the Reina Sofia.

The last of the three great art museums I wanted to visit, the Reina Sofia, is devoted to modern art, and the modern Spanish artists that put Spain's art scene on the map: Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Salvador Dali.

Included in the definition for modern art is a series of small paintings done by Goya around 1810. In them, he used painting as a social commentary, a first for artists who previously were portrait and landscape painters, not philosophers. He used art to represent his horror at the consequences of war, where all sides are victims. They are sensitive drawings showing death and destruction, the helping hand for the injured, the loss of children and parents, exactly as he witnessed it, giving the viewer an opportunity to feel the same emotions. It was a big step forward.

Guernica is Picasso's most famous painting, and arguably the most important painting of the 20th century. For the first time, I rented the audio guide and listened to the background information on Guernica, as well as viewing photos taken as it was being painted. It had been commissioned by the Spanish Government, which later fell to Franco's forces. And at Picasso's request, the painting did not return to Spain until democracy was restored. In the ensuing years, the painting traveled all over the world, but now, due to the wear, tear, and inevitable damage to such a huge painting, it is permanently housed in the Reina Sofia.

A number of important Miro and Dali paintings are also on display, along with many artists of the cubist period that I didn't know about. Angeles Santos, at age 17, painted El Mundo, an impressively large painting of a square world surrounded by stars, the sun, and odd bald women with daughters. There is a room of Telluric paintings, a style I knew nothing about previously, and the interesting work of Juan Gris who moved the point of view to the inside of objects as well as outside. Modern thinking reflected in art.

I believe photos were not permitted, but people were taking them without bother, so I snapped a few too. Outside, in the courtyard a Calder mobile rotated in the breezes.

Note the way the woman's hair
gets reflected by the sculpture,
or vice versa....

A work of art, all by itself on a wall.

A Calder.