Prado 200

img-interiors-museo-pradoOn 19 November 1819 Ferdinand VII of Spain inaugurated the Museo Real de Pinturas. Two centuries later the present-day Museo Nacional del Prado is commemorating its Bicentenary.

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Francisco Goya Portrait of Ferdinand VII of Spain in his robes of state (1815). Museo del Prado

The Prado Museum Art Collections

The works housed at the Prado Museum (link to the collection) are displayed on three floors, and illustrate the history of the cultural politics of the Spanish court.
Therefore, there are paintings by court painters and great artists of the past, such as the Venetian painter Titian,who was the official portrait painter of Charles V, who loved the Flemish painters, as well.

titian. diane receiving the golden rain

Titian. Danae Receiving the Golden Rain. 1553. Museo del Prado

We owe to Philip II, instead, the world’s greatest collection of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch; whereas Philip IVallowed Velazquez to express himself to the best of his talent, and bought works of the Italian Renaissance for this art collection.

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Hieronymus Bosch. Fantasía moral (Visio tondali). Museo del Madrid

Thanks to Philip V paintings by French painters enriched the collection; whereas the court of Charles IV was dominated by the personality of Francisco Goya, on display at the Prado Museum with almost 130 works.

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Francisco Goya. The Clothed Maja. Museo del Prado

A large section of the Prado Museum is characterized by religious paintings, not only because the Church has played a dominant role in Spain over centuries, but also because in 1872 paintings coming from the collection of the Museo de la Trinidad, full of medieval works coming from all over Spain and painted by artists who hadn’t work for the sovereigns, entered the museum.
That’s why you’ll find works by El Greco, who worked especially in Toledo.

As for Spanish, Flemish and Dutch art you can’t miss: The Triumph of Death by BrueghelArtemis by Rembrandt; the three paintings of mythological subject by Rubens (Perseus and Andromeda; The judgement of Paris; The three Graces)Las Meninas by Velazquez. (The Art Post Blog).

 

Vice In Advice And Farce In Ars

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There are many humorous — and serious too! — advice as to how to fake art appreciation and get ahead in a company of snobs who might snub you if you are a dunce.

Such as Adopt THE stance. Stand back a distance from the piece of art, purse your lips as if in deep thought, and say, “I find this piece entirely derivative/jejune/neo-Slavic.”

Howcast.com is pretty blunt in its helpfulness: 

Tired of feeling stupid when the conversation turns to art? Here are some easy ways to impress art snobs without the tedium of actually learning anything.

That’s what it says, without the tedium of actually learning anything.  Because it might damage your brain if you’d try to subject it to such tedium, you know.

So, if in fear of learning, don’t read further, because there is a remote possibility you might learn something… You know how the knowledge can sneak upon you when you are not careful.

Michelangelo Merisi (Amerigo) Da Caravaggio (1571 – 1610 ) was an Italian artist, active in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily between 1593 and 1610.

Caravaggio’s paintings, especially portraits, often depict young men in various stages of undress, either adorned, surrounded or both with luscious organic fruit and vegetation, making cow eyes at you. Most of them look like adult maidens of the age of consent.

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There is, however, quite famous image of a woman by Caravaggio’s talented brush. She looks more masculine than feminine, her full name is Medusa Gorgon (no middle name), and she resembles — am I imagining it? — Johnny Depp. Take a look:
Caravaggio
And here is Johnny:

El Greco, born Doménikos Theotokópoulos, (1541 – 1614) was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. His paintings often have sharp contrasts and lots of skinny bearded faces. Most of them bearded faces are either vividly blue or somewhat bluish, hinting on high odds of them turning purple… or green:

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Lots of boisterous little people in the picture, all making broad, emphatic gestures, mostly in village setting – this  must be Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1525/30–1569). As a connoisseur of the Flemmish art and Bruegel in particular, you might say, “Notice, that far from simple recreations of everyday life, Bruegel’s paintings have powerful compositions that are brilliantly organized and controlled, reflecting a sophisticated artistic design.”

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Lots of boisterous little people in the picture, often naked, all making broad, emphatic gestures, mostly defensive ones, and lots of ugly, repugnant creepy-crawlies – this must be Hieronymus Bosch. (1450 – 1516). As a connoisseur of Early Netherlandish masters, you might say, “God knows, I don’t believe in Hell, not really. But I’m sure Master Bosch made a few trips there and back.” Modify the sentence to closely adhere to your own spiritual leanings.

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And, finally, if nearly every painting has at least one face that is marked by uncanny resemblance to a newly single Russian President Vladimir Putin, then it is Jan van Eyck (or Johannes de Eyck) (before c. 1390 – before c. 1441), a Flemish painter active in Bruges and is generally considered one of the most significant Northern European painters of the 15th century.

Take a look. Here they are, Jan van Eyck’s people.

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And here is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

For each man or woman  Jan Van Eyck put in, there  is at least one Putin. Not very masterful a phrase, but simply couldn't resist

For each man or woman Jan Van Eyck put in, there is at least one Putin. Not very masterful a phrase, but simply couldn’t resist

While we are at it, I could’ve given you a few suggestions on how to distinguish mature Jackson Pollock from the canvas produced by a 5 year old with access to cans of spray paint in primary colors, but I won’t. There are others that can do it much better.  Anyone, actually, who had a brief but unforgettable period of heavy drug use but beat the habit and turned out to be a great dad who gives his kiddies an unlimited access to cans of  spray paints. Pollock can be found in my post Contemplation of Art Appreciation. You might find a painting to compare to Pollock’s affixed to your fridge with a magnet – a gift from a child or a grandchild. Heck, if not then DIY! You can do it.

I know I shouldn’t have. Ah, well…