Wabash Blogs Immersion 2009: Spain - The Baroque Era

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A Walking Tour and Museum of the Americas

Thursday, March 12th

Today was the sixth day most interesting day during this immersion trip. Our adventure began with another quick tour of Madrid by Professor Jaen-Portillo. First we went to the site of one of the first Corral de Comedias, a type of theatre between buildings during Spain’s Golden Age. Then, we went to the Teatro del Principe (theater of the prince) where the people of the noble classes attended.  The theater has changed its name to el Teatro Espanol (Spanish Theater). Then we went to San Esteban Church were the great Lope de Vega was buried. Dr. Jaen-Portillo informed us that the remains of de Vega were lost, mixed with other corpses. Following that we went to the mentidero or gossip corner. The mentidero was a place where people went to enhance or destroy people’s reputation. Lope de Vega used this place to gossip about theatre and his rivals.

Afterwards, we went to the Quevedo house, Trinitarias Church, and Lope de Vega House Museum. We learned that Quevedo actually sold his house to a rival writer, Luis Gongora. Soon after buying the house, Gongora kicked Quevedo out. The twist is that after the death of Gongora the house became the Museum of Quevedo. Lope de Vega’s house really impressed me. It was very interesting to find out that he wrote a 3,000 verse poem in one night.
The highlight of my day was visiting the Museum of the Americas. This museum had paintings, tools, and clothing pertaining to people of the Americas. There were paintings of Cortez’s encounter with the Aztecs. More specifically, I viewed a painting which consisted of Spaniards and two indigenous men. The description of the image said that the two indigenous men were spies but who really knows. In the museum there were also letters, pens, and accessories of Christopher Columbus. This was a great experience considering the importance of his voyage to the Americas in 1492. I was astonished at the great accuracy of the Spanish maps considering the lack of technology they had to use.  I also got to see clothing of Aztecs, Incas, and Central American groups.  One of my favorite pieces was a painting about the Caste system in Latin-American that portrayed the racial and social segregation based on a person’s color of skin. The virgin de Guadalupe is in the middle top of the image with the different classes in a hierarchy of status and rights.
Its one thing to learn about topics in the Baroque in class, but it’s completely different to visit the places and study the objects that we have read about throughout the semester.
-Anthony Benitez ‘09