Today, we saw the beautiful Royal Palace of Madrid. This was once the winter home of the royal family and is still in use today for very special state ceremonies. Not only is the palace beautiful, but it tells the story of a royal family and the nation they ruled. The history behind the layout of the structure was fascinating, with special quarters designed for kings and queens separately. As explorers went out into the world and discovered new flora and fauna, these new discoveries were incorporated into the decoration of the palace. One room had a fresco that showed many animals that were specific to countries in Asia and another of the Americas.
Next stop was the Prado Museum. Here we saw master works from El Greco, Diego Velasquez and Goya, three of the most influential artists in history. One of my favorites was “Las Meninas” by Velasquez. Velasquez was known to be able to capture the feeling of a specific moment in an interesting way, rather than creating a straightforward posed portrait. For example, in “Las Meninas,” he was commissioned to paint a portrait of the king and queen but they only appear in the mirror in the back of the room. The focus of the painting is their daughter, the princess being tended to by her two nannies. The details are fantastic—you can see her haughty expression and even her little brother kicking the family dog on the side.
Read more about Michelle’s adventures through Spain by following along on her live blog page.