Wabash Blogs Immersion 2009: Spain - The Baroque Era

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What a Morning...

Wednesday, March 11th
Today was a very long and tiring day. We went to el Museo del Prado, which happens to be one of the best museums in the world. Works that we got to see varied from Francisco Goya, Diego Velazquez, and El Greco. Of course, the most breath-taking piece was Las Meninas by Velazquez. One of the Baroque painting qualities that you can see in the Velazquez’s painting is his ability to differentiate between dark and light values. The fact that he plays with the viewer by making the viewer part of the painting and pointing the attention to the audience creates the illusion that Velazquez is painting you. The illusion the painting creates has led it to be known as one of the best paintings of Western Europe.
As our tour guide noted, some of the best painters are from Europe.  It is an amazing feeling to stand a few inches from world masterpieces and admire every inch of paint on the canvas. You read and learn about it in class but it is not the same feeling you get from viewing artwork in a textbook. One of my favorite things about Spain is that artwork does not stay indoors , muralists paint murals on buildings, sculptures can be seen while walking around Madrid, and let’s not forget about the beautiful water fountains.  Art can be seen everywhere.
To finish our morning excursion we went to see a memorial monument of the bombings that killed 191 victims at the Atocha train station in Madrid. Today is the 5th year anniversary of the terrorist attack that occurred on March 11, 2004. Towards the entrance of the monument is a list of the victims of the bombings. The monument itself is a glass cylinder above ground that you can see into from the basement floor. Inside the structure, there are many personal messages in tons of different languages that spoke of unity, strength, and hope against terrorism.
-Miguel Aguilar ‘10