Friday, February 20, 2009

Missed my train...

This morning I went running off to Madrid to meet my art class at the Palacio Real, but unfortunately it took me a bit longer than I thought. 15 minutes longer! I had planned to be 10 minutes early, but I was 5 minutes late and couldn't find my group anywhere. My profesora had warned us that they would be going in at EXACTLY 10am and that punctuality was key. Luckily for me, everyone working at the palace was really helpful. They even seemed to understand my Spanish! Victory! Long story short, I never did find my class. There is a touring route that goes through the palace in a large circle, and I went through and saw everything twice :) I continually asked the guards, who are forever rotating, if they had seen a Spanish profesora with a group of students speaking horrible Spanish. My efforts were futile, but honestly? I didn't care much. The palace was breathtaking!

We were supposed to be paying special attention to the frescoes, architecture, and blend of styles. The frescoes were beautiful! On nearly every ceiling in the rooms we toured (well, that I toured. Though I did tag along with a few tour groups I encountered, just to pick up extra tidbits of info), there were beautiful images of heaven, Spanish royalty, angels and an explosion of colors, most notably blue. The baroque style was particularly captivating. Baroque, to put it simply, is a rejection of the classical style that reflected ancient Rome and Greece. The classical style is defined by order, clean lines, harmony, equilibrium. Baroque is dynamic, an explosion of detail. However, this style has little to do with color. It is somewhat of an assault on the senses, because it is very demanding on one's eyes. This is because the decorations in these rooms convey MOVEMENT, in two ways. The first is the use, or rather manipulation, of light; much of the detail is "chunky," with a lot of dimension, and also gilded. The use of gold, and the angle of the wall decorations, reflect light in a way that catches your eye and makes it follow the design. The second avenue of movement is the detail, large and small. A lot of this has to do with nature; a consistency in each room was the use of vines and other plants snaking around the walls, beckoning the eyes to follow every curve. This is further accentuated by repetition: the designs on the walls themselves, as units, were not very big, however they were repeated over and over across the walls and ceilings. We might say the style was very "busy" because truly, there is a lot going on in the decoration. Overall, it was an overwhelming style, especially topped off with the intricate frescoes on the ceiling of these massively decorated rooms. But oh, how beautiful everything was. The palace conveys such a rich grandeur, such a love for style and art and an appreciation for fine architecture. It is absolutely stunning. But I could never live there - I'd go cross eyed O_o .. two fantastic hours was enough!

After walking through twice and checking out the bookstore, I headed out and found a little cafeteria where I spent my last (seriously) 1.50e on a Cafe con Leche. Then lo and behold, who should walk in but 3 girls from my class! They were super nice, and told me that in truth I hadn't missed much, since they basically just walked through and our profesora hadn't said too much. Apparently she WAS wondering where I was, though. Seems I am the only one who missed the train... but, who cares. As a history major and museum rat, I was in my element and clearly appreciated & learned from the experience. So ho hum pig's bum!


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