Madrid is home to some amazing galleries, and my friend Dan and I were lucky to visit some in October. I’m very much partial to certain artistic periods, so I gravitate to national galleries which tend to have a wide selection of pieces. In Madrid, we visited the Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza museums. As one would expect, the Prado, being a big national gallery, had rooms upon rooms of amazing art pieces. The Thyssen in contrast, was much more compact. It’s at the Thyssen where I saw the spectacular Saint Catherine of Alexandria by the Baroque Master, Caravaggio.
A Caravaggio painting practically screams its creator’s name, not simply because of the rather distinctive facial features of his figures, but because of the masterful use of warm darks. Interestingly, I also got to see Raphael’s St Catherine at the National Gallery of London this year also!
I have to say that I’m becoming more interested in Impressionist Paintings as I explore oil paint techniques further. This trip, as per every trip to Europe, allowed me to see a huge array of impressionistic artworks. The below painting by Pissaro, titled Rue Saint-Honoré in the Afternoon. Effect of Rain, really spoke to me.
Renoir…well, it’s a Renoir! Woman with a Parasol in a Garden is one of those pieces that must be seen in person, not because it can’t be appreciated otherwise, but because of the fascinating way the brush strokes change shape as one moves further away from the painting.
Degas was well represented in Madrid, but London truly paid homage to the artist by giving him a solo exhibition within the National Gallery focusing on his pastel work. I appreciate his work for a number of reasons, including the fact that he’s one of so few artists to utilize the pastel medium.
And finally, I got to see my first Holbein! It also happens to be the most well known portrait of Henry VIII in the world. It’s currently gracing the covers of no less than three books I have on the monarch :p
Now a quiz. Who does the below signature belong to?
Every time I see it, my heart gives a flutter!