Self-deprecation is worth its weight in smoldering phoenix-ashes and baby unicorn tears.
Published on April 24, 2008 By SanChonino In Blogging

More Madrid.  I wrote a lot while I was there.  Don't worry, my next post will be the murder story.  And then back to Madrid.  Still got at least two, probably three more posts from there, and then back to beautiful Tarragona.

I'm totally going swimming later today in my beautiful sea.


12 Apr 2008.  10:10pm.

My phone rings early, an alarm to get me up so I don't have to wait in line at the Reina Sofía Museum.  After a day full of renaissance and baroque masterpieces on Wednesday, it's time to enjoy some modernism.

I bathe and throw on some clothes, stepping out into the chilly morning, glad for the layers I had the presence to put on this morning.  It's another gloomy, overcast day, with pockets of gutless rainshowers popping from place to place.  Absentmindedly, I wonder if every day in Madrid is like this.

-¿Qué tal tiempo hace, Domingo?

-Como siempre, señorito.

-Vamos, sí, ni bueno ni malo.


Era la teoría del criado, quien también se las tenía.

I arrive just in time for the doors to open up, quickly purchasing my ticket (thank heaven for student discounts) and stepping into the building.  Rather than seeing the permanent collection first, I head towards the back, home of a special collection currently on loan from the Picasso Museum in Paris.  Once again, like in the Picasso Museum in Barça, I'm shocked by how much one painter can change through the passing of the years.

Few of us are lucky enough to reinvent themselves once, much less repeatedly, but that's what he did - he remade himself constantly, touching on similar themes in totally new ways.  His sculptures call to me, strange conjunctions of metal and paint titled 'Violin' or 'Guitarra' and I can see it, almost hidden underneath the perfunctory 'artsy' surface - the true image of music that Picasso sought to portray.

I file away this sensation, and remember to not waste the chance to reinvent myself I've been given in Spain, even if some of my actions are the kind that are best buried and forgotten - I will still be a new man when I arrive home.

I move from room to room, until I arrive at the centerpiece of the whole collection - one that the Reina Sofía has permanently, and undoubtedly causes much hated salivation at the Picasso Museum of Paris.


It doesn't matter how many times I've seen it on a computer screen, watched it projected on a blackboard, or noticed it in a book.  The size of it demands attention and respect alone, and then I begin to search its vast face.

The sense of agony in the piece is palpable, a dialogue of tears and pain, a dissertation on the cost of war to the common person.  From the javelin-pierced horse to the dead man sprawled across the bottom of the canvas to the mother holder the mangled corpse of her dead child while screaming to the heavens.  It elicits darkness and despair.

I sit on the bench in front of it, transfixed for I-don't-know-how-long, until the crowd gets too thick and I move on.

I move on, just as I have been moved - deeply, terribly, completely.

Eventually I work my way back towards the permanent collection, seeing everything from early impressionism to works that were completed last year (you can almost smell the paint still).  I'm especially drawn to the works of Catalan Joan Miró.  Maybe it's because he's from Cataluña, maybe it's because his work has a beautiful simplicity to it.  But rather than simply engendering respect as all the other great pieces I've seen do to me, something in his big, bright canvases makes me want to paint, want to create myself.

But I have no visual skills whatsoever.  I know how to appreciate art, but creating it is another matter entirely.

However, I still think I'm going to try once I get home.

I move into the Dali room, and I'm especially disturbed.  The surrealism (or, perhaps better put and cognizant of the French root, super-realism) he attempted to portray is overwhelming, and I am lost in his canvases.

on Apr 24, 2008
on Apr 24, 2008
So, I realized that I forgot the lyrics for that song.

So I did a search for them. And that's when I remembered this album hasn't even come out yet.

Regardless, No-Man has a great vibe.
on Apr 24, 2008

I came, I read, I overcame.  Sorry, feeling a little cynical today.  I'll email you about it later.


on Apr 24, 2008

I love the music!  Who's that?  Didn't see the name.


I love looking at art too, and traipsing through musuems.  Sounds like you need some warm weather over there!

on Apr 24, 2008
I love the music! Who's that? Didn't see the name.

A British group named No-Man. The song is called "Truenorth" off their new album Schoolyard Ghosts, due out next month. Great stuff.

Thanks for the read!
on Apr 24, 2008

Another potent post, mate.  To sit in front of the Picasso and be drawn into his art is something I would love to do one day.

I noticed the link is to the Australian National University (where one of my brothers works).

Great song, by the way.