El Retiro. There are no words. If you're ever in Madrid, you have to go to the Retiro. Even though during the summer it's sometimes unbearably hot and all you want to do is run to the nearest air-conditioned building you can find, go to the Retiro. You won't regret it.
This is the Palacio de Velázquez, named after its directing architect, Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, and not the painter. It was constructed in 1881-1883 to commemorate the celebration of the National Exhibition of Mining, Metallurgical Arts, Ceramics, Glass and Mineral Waters in Madrid. It presently belongs to the Ministry of Culture, and it's currently used to house temporary exhibitions for the Museo Reina Sofia. When we visited there was one such exhibition, Nacho Criado's Collaborating Agents, being held both here and in the Palacio de Cristal.
The Palacio de Cristal was, unfortunately, closed. They were cleaning Criado's installations, as glass is prone to gathering dust. You could see them working through the windows, and I caught a girl using a brush to dust what looked like one of hundreds of glass bottles.
The Caixa Forum was hosting this fantastic exhibition called The Arts of Piranesi. It featured 250 original etchings, a section where his vedute were compared to present-day photographs, reconstructions of his models, and one of the coolest things I've seen in my life - a 3D animation of Piranesi's Carceri d'Invenzione.
Unfortunately, the Caixa doesn't allow photography in its galleries, so I don't have any pictures of it. Wah, wah, wah.
The building housing the Museo Reina Sofia was initially built in the sixteenth century, designed by José de Hermosilla and Francisco Sabatini, and intended to be a hospital. It wasn't until 1992 that it opened its doors as the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, its permanent collection including works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, Man Ray, Yves Klein, Damien Hirst, and Francis Bacon. It also houses this little gem:
|Guernica, Pablo Picasso|
No photography allowed on that floor, yadda yadda, you know the drill.
|Aux espagnols morts pour la France, Pablo Picasso|
|La sonrisa de alas flameantes (The Smile of the Flamboyant Wings), Joan Miró|
It was here that I fell in love with Miró. How can you not adore him?
|Untitled (Orange, Plum, Yellow), Mark Rothko|
|Constellation, Alexander Calder|
|El baile de las amapolas (The Dance of the Poppies), Joan Miró|
|Victoire de Samothrace (Victory of Samothrace), Yves Klein|
|Figura (Figure), Pablo Picasso|
|El Enigma de Hitler (The Enigma of Hitler), Salvador Dalí|
|Pintura (Hombre con pipa) - Painting (Man with a Pipe), Joan Miró|
|Retrato de Joella (Portrait of Joella), Salvador Dalí & Man Ray|
|El hombre invisible (The Invisible Man), Salvador Dalí|
|Grelots roses, ciels en lambeaux (Pink Bells, Tattered Skies), René Magritte|
|Manola, Julio Romero de Torres|
|Carmen, Alexander Calder|