Tag Archive: Goya

Having fallen ill on my last week in Madrid, I opted out of trips outside the capital and skipped on long walks. Truth is I lost much time just staying in, homebound with coughing fits. Must be the cold spell.




One of Lazaro’s favorites, it is among the first art pieces you’d encounter. No attribution. Bought in Paris from the Marquis de Salamanca’s Collection.


That’s Señor Lazaro right in the middle. Financier, Journalist, Publisher, Art Collector.



By the time I’m well enough to step out, I was reminded not to overdo it. So how about this less-visited museum. No crowds. Below the tourist radar, but highly-recommended for its art treasure and exquisitely-arranged collection.




San Diego de Alcalá. By Franccisco de Zurbarán. 1651-1653.


Look up!



Not too far from the U.S. Embassy in the fashionable district of Salamanca is Palacio Parque Florido. That’s how the estate is called. The museo housed in the Galdiano Mansion is actually where the childless Lazaro Galdiano lived with his Argentinian wife, Paula Florido. Along with the estate given over to the Government is Señor Galdiano’s impressive collection of paintings, sculpture and other works of art. This one generous intellectual obviously collected without regard for cost. The rich and famous…. and brilliant and classy, may I add. Oh yes, not all those with fame and wealth have intellect and errrr, class. This Galdiano couple did.




The Young Marchioness of Roncali. Madrid. 1838. So young. So elegant.


Another reason to look up!



The couple collected as a matter of personal taste rather than societal dictates. Both Lazaro and his Argentinian wife acquired art pieces like they were perennially on a shopping spree. Moving from Madrid to Paris to New York must have fuelled, stepped up their acquisition mode that every room in this neo-Renaissance 3-storey (or was it 4?) mansion was tastefully done and adorned with art. Even read that some art critics of that time dismissed their collection as “barbaric”, whatever that means. I like that they collected even those art pieces without any attribution. Or that the pieces done by less popular artists didn’t have to compete for more prominent space on the walls, and yes, ceilings, of the lovely mansion. Going from room to room, hall to hall, floor to floor is an adventure. The next step, always a pleasant surprise. The frescoes on the ceilings are magnificent. The Goyas on exhibit pale in size and popularity compared to those in the Prado, but still manage to delight. The portraits present a study in contrast….. from the aristocratic ladies sitting for their portraits to the more relaxed but nevertheless elegant poses of young sitters.




Christ at the Column. Michelangelo Naccherino. 1550-1622. Italian School. Marble.


Young Christ, a late 15th century “Leonardesque” painting traditionally attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Oil on Beech Tree Panel.



A painting of an adolescent Christ intrigued me. It is my first time to see an image of a younger Jesus. Same with the more detailed and morbid painting of the head of San Juan Bautista. Was it really Leonardo da Vinci who painted the young Christ? Or was the painting done by one of Leonardo’s student protegés or apprentices? Just like the controversial “other Mona Lisa” in Museo del Prado, Da Vinci continues to stir controversy centuries later. As for Saint John’s head, this painting was originally listed in the 1570 Medici inventory. Such anatomical details! 




Head of Saint John the Baptist. Another “lost original” by Leonardo da Vinci?


Christ Child With Cross of the Passion. No attribution.



Sometimes, a museum visit gets “personal”. I felt that way when I visited Museo Sorolla. Same here. And there’s even less crowd yet more collections! Could the more “intimate experience” be attributed to the fact that the Museo was a former lived-in residence? That its collection was personally handpicked by its owner-collectors, and in the case of the lovely jewelry collection, even worn and lovingly cared for? Good vibes in this museo, for sure.




Goya’s El Verano (Summer). 1786.


Entombment of Christ by Goya. 1771-72



The Museum closes early, and is closed every Tuesday. If you’re doing the rounds of Madrid’s museums, you’d be happy to visit this on a Monday when most other museums are closed. It is easy to spot along the posh Calle Serrano farther away from the shops near the corner of Calle José Abascal. Lastly, don’t forget to ride the glass and wood elevator. I did. Alone. Seated like a queen on the velvet bench inside the tiny enclosure. 🙂




Wood and Glass Elevator in Museo Lazaro Galdiano.


Museo Lazaro Galdiano. Madrid.

It’s that prized white garlic from Spain. And in dear España, ajo is a cook’s best friend. The cloves are finer and the aroma and taste more intense. It is a prized condiment grown in the tiny village of Chinchón, some 50 kilometers southeast of Madrid.




Ajos (Garlic) : A Cook’s Best Friend


The Iglesia towers over the Plaza mayor of Chinchón. Be sure to climb up to the Iglesia for a panoramic view of the entire pueblo.



Took the green La Veloz 337 Bus off Conde de Casal Metro Station. It’s easy to spot those green buses from the corner. Bus 337 bound for Valdelaguna takes you to Chinchón in less than an hour. Don’t fret once the bus drives out to “provincia” away from the “ciudad”. Before long, you’d zigzag along hills and reach the “pueblo”. The driver will let you off in the Convento which is just a 5-7 minute walk to the Plaza Mayor.




The Bus 337 (La Veloz) drops you off , then picks you up on a spot with this view.


A short uphill climb from the Plaza Mayor to the Iglesia and Torre del Reloj.



This picturesque village is quiet, off-the-beaten path, but certainly teeming with history and culture. Its grace matched by charming old ladies who’d chat with you like there’s no tomorrow. Old men unmindful of time, seated by a bench between the Clock Tower and Church, overlooking the pueblo. No need for maps. The locals are eager to give you tips — check out Goya’s house, the Ermita de San Roque and San Anton, try the coffee with the local anisette liquor and the pan (bread) con anis. Or just walk leisurely along the narrow streets lined with apartments with wooden balconies and joined by arches as the alleys spill into Plaza Mayor.




Around the Plaza is the ayuntamiento (Town hall), many tabernas and panaderias with different shapes and designs of bread tainted with anis!


The town hall of Chinchón.



One charming old lady convinced me to buy 5 breads from her. Anti-crisis, she kept saying, in that distinct, forceful Spanish intonation. She made my day! Claiming a seat in one of the tabernas around the plaza, I munched on my pan con anis with cafe con…… What else, anis! Chinchón is famous for its anis as much as its ajos. In fact they have separate garlic and anis festivals in this quaint village.




Torre del Reloj. Clock Tower.


Many houses are adorned with this red patch with an image of the Infant Jesus. I find the locals here more religious, more spiritual, more kind and welcoming.



No wonder Goya was enchanted with Chinchón. His brother lived here where he is the local priest. The house is very near the residence of the Duchess of Alba who allegedly posed for his Maja — naked or otherwise — portraits. Apart from Goya, there’s Orson Welles who loved Chinchón so much he asked that his ashes be buried here. What drew these 2 great men to Chinchón?




Next time, I’d try this Taberna near goya’s crib.


Walking around, I counted off just 5 tourists.



I wonder. As for me…. I think I had my monthly dose of anise in a single afternoon, and it’s threatening to give me a migraine. Could be the anisetto liquour in my cafe cortado or maybe the pan con anis I bought from the local panaderia. 🙂





Done the Prado Museum thrice. Each time, I was drawn more to the Spanish Masters. With much time to spend in Madrid, I was able to schedule my Prado visits in such a way that I devote the next 2 hours just viewing 1 or 2 artists.







Goya is among Spain’s greatest, if not THE. His statue stands on a prominent site on the Museum square, and rightly so. I lost count of how many galleries or halls inside the Museo where his paintings hang. But I do remember that Goya requires more time and attention. Amazing how his works evolved through the years. The religious paintings, the nude paintings, the more surreal — shall i say “fierce”? — paintings. More amazing is his life story. Imagine him as a man about town, painting the Duchess of Alba in all her nakedness, witnessing the Mayo Dos failed insurrection and painting it from memory, going deaf as he began on his “Pinturas Negras”, dying in Bordeaux, France and buried in Madrid without his head. That last piece of information about his headless body so intrigued me that I ventured to search for his resting place.






The metro stop says Principe Pio. Walking right from the station along Paseo de Florida for some 10 minutes, the statue of Goya proudly stands in the glorietta fronting the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida. I thought I was seeing double when I reached the place, only to learn that a sister church with twin features was built right next to the original which has since been turned into a Museum. The mortal remains of Goya lie in the original 18th century Neo-classical church, while worship was transferred to the adjacent sister church. Both churches are tiny, with floors shaped like a Greek cross.





As expected, photography was not allowed inside the tiny museum-church. A pity. I would have loved to snap photos of Goya’s frescoes. The photo above and those below are some photos grabbed from the Internet, just to give you an idea of Goya’s genius. Surely, the Hermitage of Saint Anthony is so fortunate to house Goya’s masterpiece. There are mirrors — spotted at least 4— so one can view the ceiling, the dome without craning one’s neck. Still, I couldn’t help looking up to admire this intriguing man’s work. For a while there, I thought there was a banister or some kind of railing around the dome to allow one to go up and view the frescoes up close. I even assumed Goya painted from there while his assistant busily stirred his pigments. Was I dead wrong.






The cherubs painted on the ceiling looked like they were lifting the drapes for the audience to view the obra maestro. A child’s leg “hanging” from the banister made me realize that the feigned banister is part of the painting showing villagers witnessing a miracle of San Antonio. The artist even painted himself with a black cloak in this dome fresco! Each character in the painting has a different facial expression — pain, adoration, awe, joy, gratitude, festive, surprise, glee, fright, even indifference. Very very expressive figures and gestures caught in canvas. I like how Goya’s paintings seem to have blurred edges (this layman’s description), as if the artist smudged over the edges without losing the details. The restoration work done here and completed in 2005 is definitely commendable.





Yet this site, this tomb of this magnificent artist is often missed. As I have. Been here 2 months until I ventured off the beaten path. But why headless, you ask? Goya died in Bordeaux in 1828. His head was stolen in France before the body was transported to Spain to be buried under  a very modest gravestone here. In death, as in life, Goya’s story truly invites one to either stand in awe or sit in contemplation. Now….. Let’s have that last look on Goya’s “Naked Maja”. Did the Duchess of Alba really sit for this painting? Or did she “lie” for this painting? 😊😊😊