Sex and Scandal at the Prado Museum

Prado Museum, Madrid Spain

Prado Museum, Madrid Spain

SEX and SCANDAL at the Prado Museum in Madrid!

Your lucky day!  You have scored FREE admission to a short, but memorable tour to the world famous collection of European paintings at the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.  No long line for you as your epic tour is just a few clicks away.  I guarantee you will learn something new, will be amazed and astonished….

A long line snakes from the front door of the Prado Museum.  Two distinct lines.  A very long one for those who, for some unknown reason, did not buy tickets in advance and the nearly empty line for those who read buying in advance was the smart thing to do.  Cruise on through, your tour is just a few clicks away….

Going through world famous art museums like the Louvre in Paris, Vatican in Rome and  the Uffizi in Florence can make for an arduous day.  Long lines in the heat, standing on your feet for hours, looking at painting after painting that eventually all blend together.  Guided tours generally do not help as they try to fill us with facts and unpronounceable names that will be forgotten before the tour rounds the next corner.

NOT HERE, NOT ON THIS TOUR!  Short, exciting and free….

Vultures Eat Condemned Man’s Liver

Here is a painting of a giant named Tityus who behaved very badly (read below the painting)  His punishment is having his liver eaten by two vultures!  Who thinks of such a scene?  To make matters worse, the liver is continually regenerating, so this liver eating will go on for eternity, which means it is going on right now.  I did not know over 400 years ago people were aware the liver would regenerate.  If Tityus is indeed a giant, so must the vultures be giant, as they seem quite large in relation to the chained down naked body of Tityus.  Sorry for the glare on the photos, but these are iPhone pictures and I was unsure of the rules for photography in the Prado Museum.  Actually, these are not really my photos and did not take them.  A gypsy outside of the museum sold them to me.  This whole blog idea was his as well.

Two Vultures Eat the Liver of Tityus, for eternity

Two Vultures Eat the Liver of Tityus, for eternity

 

I Knew the Lasagne Didn’t Taste Right!

Next you have this King Tereus who is King of Thrace.  I’ve never heard of either Thrace or this king.  Anyway, he takes a strong sexual liking to his wife’s sister,  which we all know is never a good thing.  King Tereus is now worried that the sister, Philomeia, may tell the wife, Procne, so he does the only thing a King in this situation could do to keep her from spilling the beans.  He cuts out her  tongue.  Being a literal person, I’m thinking of the tussle which would ensue, to cut out someones tongue and wouldn’t you bleed to death?  OMG!  What ever happened to being fed to the lions?

Philomeia apparently recovers from the tongue-ectomy and goes to work making tapestries for the King’s wife.  Unbeknownst to the King Tereus,  Philomeia weaves letters of the King’s horrible deeds into the tapestries for the wife to read.  So, apparently the wife would get one tapestry with part of the story and would then wait anxiously for the next tapestry with more of the unfolding story woven and revealed.  Eventually, Procne gets many tapestries as well as details of the sexual encounter.  She does what any scorned queen of the day would do as vengeance.  She kills their son Itys, grinds the body up like hamburger and serves it to King Tereus at a banquet in a spicy lasagne dish.  OK, I’ve elaborated a bit with the lasagne, but you get the idea.  After eating the meal served, the King requests the presence of his son.  The painter Pedro Rubens chose to depict the very moment sisters Philomeia and Procne divulge their terrible deeds to the king, showing the King his son’s head on a platter.

Below it is evident the King is recoiling backwards in shock and horror, knocking over a table upon seeing the decapitated head of his only son, Itys.  The hair and flowing robes of the scantily clad sisters shows they are running or moving quickly toward the King, anxious to reveal their heinous deceit.

Because you Raped my Sister, Cut out her Tongue, I Killed our Son

Here is Your Son…..

 

Rubens Painting

 

Women RULE!

Enough gore, we need a break.  One of my favorite painters, Francisco Goya painted the straw mannequin below being tossed up in the air by four women.  This was to symbolize women’s power over men.  Oh, so this has been going on for a very long time has it?

The Straw Manikin, by Francisco Goya

The Straw Manikin, by Francisco Goya

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Francisco Goya and the Nude Maja at the Prado Museum

Maja means beautiful, beauty or good looking.  These two paintings below are also by Francisco Goya.  The Nude Maja painting is said to be the first painting in which female pubic hair is visible, making it totally profane at the time.   This painting caused much controversy during the Spanish Inquisition.  Goya was summoned before a court to reveal whom he painted it for, motives and the like.  The Spanish government declared the nude work to be “indecent and prejudicial to the public good.”  However, through legal wranglings, Goya was not jailed.  Skip to 1930 and the Spanish government printed postage stamps with Goya’s nude maja depicted.  However, the US government refused to accept and deliver any mail with the nude image on them.

 

Two versions of the Maja desnuda

Two versions of Goya’s Maja Desnuda

I waited patiently for this old man to leave, but he didn’t budge and was still there when I left, staring intently.

Two Versions of the Mona Lisa

Apparently with museum approval and a lot of skill, one is allowed to paint the masterworks of the Prado.  Did you know there are really two Mona Lisa paintings?  Both nearly identical paintings were created at the same time, side by side.  How do experts know?  Detailed x-ray analysis of both paintings show not only does this second Mona Lisa mirror its famous counterpart, superficially, it also features the very same corrections to the lower layers.   Leonardo da Vinci and the ‘copyist’ must have collaborated on these two panels simultaneously.   The angles of the painters view points were slightly different, as you would expect when painting side by side.  My inexperienced eye could not tell any difference in the fine work this third copyist was creating, below, during my visit.

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BONUS TOUR- Sorolla Museum Madrid, Spain

A much less intimidating museum in a relaxed atmosphere with no long lines is the Sorolla Musuem in Madrid.  It is a nice stroll through the aristocratic painter’s house with many of his works on display.  Sorry, I have no gore on these fine works of art.  The museum was so enjoyable, I wanted to include it.  The bright orange walls used for their art display was quite a surprise for me.  When we settle down, orange walls will get some consideration, said the Straw Man as he was again tossed into the air…..

Sorolla Musuem Stairs

Sorolla Museum Stairs

 

Sorolla Musuem Sitting Room

Sorolla Museum Sitting Room

 

Sorolla Musuem Patron and Art

Sorolla Museum,  color coordinated patron and art

 

The End

11 thoughts on “Sex and Scandal at the Prado Museum

  1. Your writing shows your sense of humor, which are both true treasures!
    Love the paintings seeing the paintings and the architecture of the museum.

  2. Since we’re currently in Madrid, I wanted to reread your posts – loved your Prado “tour!” One of the benefits of longer stays is that we’re not compelled to see everything at once. Because the main museums are free the last two hours of the day, we went to see Picasso’s Guernica at the Reina Sophia at 8 pm, and will be spending a couple hours each evening at the Prado as well. It’s a good way for us to spend our evenings, as there’s no way we’re going to be eating dinner at 10 pm.

    • It sounds to me like you are staying more active than we do when we travel and stay in a town for a week. Very happy you get to go to the Prado and took the time to read my blog. I’m still amazed at the terrible stories behind the paintings back when people could not read and were taught stories through paintings. Thank you very much for taking the time to commenting.

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