28 March 2013

Yesterday morning was a bit sleepy, as I found out at 1 am the night before that I got the summer internship that I was waiting to hear from!  I will be officially working with Bard Summerscape as a Costumer intern this summer, which is going to be FABULOUS.  Not only do I get to work in costuming for a prestigious professional theater company, but I will get to live at home.  After being away most of the summer teaching at Wayfinder last summer, then Oberlin in the fall, then London this semester, I have actually not spent more than 3 weeks at home with my family for about two years now.  Even Amy will be home this summer!  It seems very fitting, as it is my last summer as a student, a dependant, that I spend my free time in my hometown with my family. 

So after that exciting news, I woke up the next morning to go on another free walking tour!  This time the tour was of Madrid´s major Placas and famous buildings and the tour guide again was wonderful and engaging.  At one point he sat us down and ran us through the entire history of Spain in 15 minutes.  The highlight was probably the royal palace.  After the tour, I went with some fellow hostelers to a recommended restaurant (prix fixe with 4 courses) and had some more tapas, paella, a main course of Iberian beef with a tomato sauce, and profiterols for dessert.  Suffice to say, I was full for the rest of the day. 

The rest of the day was spent at the Museo Reina Sophia, the modern art museum of Madrid, which I went to accompanied by a new friend from my hostel room, Jack, from Kenyon College.  We bonded over our similar schools and interest in art, and had a great time there.  It was good to have a fellow at a contemporary art museum, as it is the type of art I usually enjoy the least, so with a friend we can either discuss it together, find meaning, or at least be baffled together. The highlight of this was, of course, Picasso´s Guernica, which is huge and extremely emotional at such a size.  Though, like I´ve said, not the hugest fan of Picasso, his use of shades of grey and which images he chose to emphasize are masterful in this piece. 

Today was an absolutely beautiful day, so I took most of my photographs of the city sights on the way to the museum area (there are many) and generally enjoyed the walking path there, which includes sculptures and fountains, and generally is actually nicer than La Rambla in Barcelona, which has become something of a tourist trap.  (There is, however, no Boqueria in Madrid, so it will forever be inferior.)  I then spent the day at the Museo de Thyssen-Bornemisza, which mainly has Impressionist through to mid-20th century works and is a perfect companion to the Prado and the Reina Sophia!  The beginning of the museum does start with pre-19th century art and a load of Christ iconography again, so I sped through that rather quickly, but the rest of the museum was beautiful and perfect.  The 19th century is my favorite century of art history, and that was the majority of the museum.  It was almost overwhelming the amount of works that I was interested in or inspired by, and I wrote down many names and titles to consult for the future for my own work, or simply for my own pleasure.  Major artists included Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Dali, Miro, Picasso, Kandinsky, and Leichtenstein. 

There just happened to be a temporary exhibit in the museum as well that specified in Impressionism and Plein-Air painting, which is basically all I´ve been doing (albeit in watercolor as opposed to oils) since arriving on the Continent.  The exhibit was extremely interesting, and again inspiring, even making me okay with returning to the Hudson Valley and the landscapes there.  It also shows just how much my interests have expanded over the years, because as of late high school I absolutely hated everything to do with landscapes and wouldn´t touch watercolors. I will expand upon it later, but my creativity has been through the roof being exposed to all of these masterful paintings and works of art in such beautiful, exotic, and historical cities. I honestly do not think I could be happier in terms of the enrichment of my soul which has come from these experiences.  It´s very hard to explain, but I just feel elated most of the time.  (Though a lot of this also comes from having nothing but bright, sunny days for the last 10 of my vacation.)

Outside of the museum was a beautiful garden with green grass and palm trees surrounded by brightly colored flowers offset against a classic Spanish building, and it already looks like a painting, and will soon become one of mine.  I was exhausted so I did not stay to paint it, but took many photographs.  I have been finding inspiration everywhere in these cities. 

Tomorrow is my final day in Spain, and the final day of my solo tour, and I find that I am actually rather sad.  Spain is wonderful and beautiful and so alive, and I´ve actually found I quite love travelling alone.  I´m going to write more about it tomorrow, but it has been a truly wonderful, freeing, and personally enriching experience.

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tagged as: personal. travel. madrid. reina sophia. thyssen-bornemisza. spain. van gogh.