You can’t get to most places in the hills of Guanajuato, Mexico, except by walking. Some of the “callejons” are a bit challenging, but walk slowly from the University steps up to Cerro del Cuarto and you will be richly rewarded. There is magic there on the walls and walkways, thanks to the artistry of my friend Pepe.Continue reading
The Reina Sofia is Madrid’s modern art museum, with works by Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, and George Braque, among many others. One of its current exhibits relates stories of the murderous oppression in Latin America during the past 100 years. You can read more about the exhibit here. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/jun/16/madrid-reina-sofia-latin-america-artistic-boom-enemies-of-poetry This painting by Roberto Matta appears to depict relief from the trauma of war by placing its ambiguous characters in a field of appealing colors, with a sense of balance and what appears to be a spot of sun. The painting is certainly a reference to Picasso’s “Guernica,” on display a few rooms away, which portrays only tragedy. You can read more about what inspired “Guernica” here. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/history-magazine/article/pablo-picasso-guernica-painting-historyContinue reading
So….instead of writing my usual travel postings, I’m going to post one photo a day with a a little bit of context. Today’s photo was taken in Madrid’s Prado Museum. The painting is “Las Meninas,” by Diego Velazquez. It’s a very complex portrait of a Spanish family that creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures in the painting. I loved it even more after seeing the many ways Picasso deconstructed it in paintings that are exhibited in Barcelona. You can learn more about them here https://kimmie53.com/2020/03/07/catalunyas-many-free-spirits/#more-13292 or here https://www.infobae.com/cultura/2020/10/07/la-belleza-del-dia-las-meninas-de-pablo-picasso/.Continue reading
In 1980, an aging Yemeni woman living in a Palestinian village was involuntarily relocated to a bland immigrant camp. She was an artist and felt stifled by the white walls of her new house, so she bought cans of paint and, over several years, covered her white walls with the rich motifs of Yemei embroidery. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/afias-house-shlomi-israel Her project got her through a difficult time, and it is wondrous.
Art records, glorifies, questions and, at its best, sends us somewhere deep inside ourselves. Researching nudes, https://kimmie53.com/2020/07/09/what-naked-women-can-tell-us-about-us/#more-14968 I was surprised at how one type of painting could reveal so much about sexual politics, changing artistic styles, and my own prejudices. I wondered what I might find if I researched paintings of women who are not nude.
While I am imagining the thrill of visiting a museum again, I decided to investigate my museum-induced sense that there is a theme in paintings of female nudes. I love nudes, partly because they provide clues about the ways society has viewed women over time. Anyway, during my museum days, I noticed that some paintings of nudes reminded me of other paintings of nudes, no matter when or where they were painted — in particular, paintings of “reclining nudes.”
It turns out that a single painting inspired 500 years of artistry.
This seems to be a good time to look for reminders of what is best about the world. At least, they will help keep my focus on the path I want to travel down the road (oh hey, a mixed metaphor with synonyms). So here is today….
After five years of travel, I am not on an extended vacation. The road is my home. It is like religion to me because it helps me fill in some of the gaping holes in what I know and believe. It feeds my spirit and challenges me. But now, I realize I may not be able to travel for what could feel like a long time. Although I don’t know how, my life is going to change.