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What are some types of art found in Spain?

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January 17, 2008 5:54PM

In Spain, arts such as, Sculptures, paintings, portraits, murals, and black paintings can be found. Summary 1. Art in Museums 2. Outdoor Art - Architecture 3. Outdoor Art - Ruins 1. Art In Museums The Prado Art Museum on the Paseo de la Castellana (a very important North-South street in Madrid) is both large and rich in Spanish and art of other origin, notably art of the Italian Renaissance. Two very important Spanish artists grace the Prado. The first is Diego Velazquez. Velazquez was court painter to Felipe II. He is a master portraitist, commonly agreed to be one of the best painters at rendering "atmosphere," or the space in a painting. Thus, the subjects of the portraits seem as if they are actually standing before the viewer, with space in between the two--the subjects are standing a few feet behind what art historians call the "picture plane." One of the most important paintings in the history of Western Art, "Las Meninas," is housed at the Prado. It is a portrait of court dwarves, the King and Queen, and the artist all at once. There is a mirror in the painting that reflects the painter working, and once we realize that, we realize that we, the viewers of the painting, must be standing exactly where the painter stood. "Las Meninas" is a very important painting to see during one's lifetime. The second painter featured in the Prado is Francisco Goya. Goya does not have control of the "atmosphere" as Velasquez does; instead, he is a superb illustrator with an excellent sense of dramatic composition. Goya, too, painted for the court, but one of the most fascinating rooms in the Prado is the salon that contains Goya's "pinturas negras," or "dark paintings." These are paintings representing horrifying or brutal subjects that Goya painted for his own amusement and posted in his dining room! One of these paintings is entitled "Saturn Devouring His Children," in which a crazed Greek god Saturn looks out at the viewer holding a body with a head bitten off; there is also a painting of a traveling party about to be covered by an avalance; also present, and most horrifying to this author, is an illustration of a Spanish form of duel with clubs wherein the participants stand in mud, which prevents either man from running away. Essentially, one of the duelers clubs the other to death, but himself is clubbed to the edge of dying. The illustration is of the two getting ready to make the first swing of their clubs. The Prado also houses Picasso's "Guernica," a painting mourning the Nazi bombing of Guernica, a town on the Northern Spanish coast, carried out in the 1930's; many historian agree that it was this bombing run that was the "rehearsal" for the blitzkriegs with which Germany began the Second World War. II. Architecture No essay on art in Spain would be complete without a mention of the Alhambra, a Moorish (medieval Arabian) palace in the city of Grenada. It is a fantasy done in smooth, flawless white marble, with open rooms leading to other open rooms, fountains, water flowing through rooms to collect in the fountains, carvings that grace arches and columns. The impression is of an incredibly airy, labrynthine yet organized, one-floor fantasy building. One of the most impressive features is the "Court of Lions," where four marble lions spit water from their mouths, and beautiful, open rooms surround the court on all four sides. At the other end of the timeline, Frank Gehry, the celebrated American architect, recently completed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, a city on the North coast of Spain. The building is thought of as one of Gehry's best, so far--a collage of undulating, bulbous shapes contrasting with rectilinear outcroppings. There are other marvelous examples of architecture in Spain--the work in Barcelona of Antonio Gaudi, for example, whose buildings look as if they were melting; the mosque in Cordoba is a master of space made to appear soaring by an arrangement of beautiful columns indoors--but space limits their full discussion here. III. Roman Ruins Spain was one of the most stable of Ancient Rome's colonies. In Segovia, there is a heart-stopping ruin of an aqueduct, three stories high. The aqueduct has two channels, one of which served to provide water to local areas and one of which carried water that eventually would provide water to Rome. The city of Salamanca is also home to many stunningly well-preserved Roman ruins. IV. Conclusion Any person with the means and with any interest in art should make a trip to Spain, where much of the art is *not* concentrated in museums, a high priority. The Gothic cathedrals of France and the museums of Paris, whose number and quality are the best in Western Europe--is also not to be missed. Spain's treasures are more spread out. That, happily, means that the tourist can also drive throughout this country, about the size of Texas, or take the excellent trains that criscross the country.