For reasons irrelevant in this context, I only finished reading three books last month, but there are more to come, stay tuned.
Covering 1535,52 hectares, this wonderful natural space to the west of the city is Madrid’s largest public park. Its history dates back to the mid-16th century when King Philip II decided to move his court to Madrid. He created an estate that extended from the Royal Palace to El Pardo hunting ground, acquiring farms and fields in the area. Used exclusive by the royal family for centuries, in the 1930s it was finally opened to the public.
King Ferdinand VI declared it a Royal Forest, and King Charles III chose to devote some of it to agricultural use and livestock farming. But with the arrival of the Second Spanish Republic, the new government ceded ownership of the property to Madrid City Council on 1 May 1931, and it has been public property ever since. During the Civil War it suffered damage like many other sites in the city, but it also saw the construction of military structures that are still visible today.
Casa de Campo, which in Spanish means “country house”, may be an urban park but you’ll be forgiven for thinking you are in a forest. In it you’ll find a variety of flora and fauna as well as a great range of attractions: from the Parque de Atracciones amusement park, the recently renovated lake which is lined with restaurants and bars and the Madrid Zoo and Aquarium to the Cable Car (which connects Casa de Campo and Oeste Park, on the other side of the River Manzanares), conference centres, the Madrid Arena Multipurpose venue, and Venta del Batán (the place where bulls are traditionally held during the days before the bullfights at Las Ventas Bullring).
The park is very popular with sports enthusiasts, who flock to it at the weekends to run, cycle, play football or tennis or go for a swim – it’s outdoor public pool is one of Madrileños’ favourites spots in summer. The park also hosts athletics competitions, like the annual triathlon. (Source: Madrid Official tourism website)
From 24 September to 9 January, the Recoletos Hall at the Mapfre Foundation is organising a retrospective of the work of the Italian painter, Giorgio Morandi, one of the most significant artists in the history of 20th century art, along with an exhibition of work by modern artists who knew how to interpret his work.
Morandi. Infinite Resonance is a retrospective exhibition of Giorgio Morandi’s work (Bologna, 1890-1964), one of the most significant and unclassifiable artists in the history of twentieth century art. The Italian painter barely travelled outside Italy and spent almost his entire life in his home and studio on Via Fondazza on Bologna. Here he engaged in creating work in which everyday objects, flowers and landscapes became the protagonists, with the intention of producing, as noted by Ardengo Soffici, “a harmonious composition of colours, shapes and volumes that exclusively obeyed the rules of unity, like the beauty of consensus.”
The exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of Morandi’s output in seven sections that address all the themes the artist loved, primarily still lifes, landscapes, and vases of flowers. The earlier part of the exhibition features the paintings Self-Portrait and Bathers, two of the few examples of human representation in his work. In addition, throughout the exhibition visitors will find a selection of works by other contemporary artists who managed to establish a dialogue with the language of the Italian artist in different media (mainly photography, painting, sculpture and ceramics). Notable among these artists are Tony Cragg, Tacita Dean, Joel Meyerowitz, Luigi Ontani, Rachel Whiteread, Edmund de Waal, Alfredo Alcaín and Gerardo Rueda, to name but a few.
Exhibition organized by Fundación MAPFRE and Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera.(Source and additional information at Fundación Mapfre)
Image Credits: Self Portrait is an oil on canvas painting created by Giorgio Morandi in 1924. It lives at the Pinacoteca di Brera in Italy. The image is in the public domain.
My October 2021 Reads
A World Heritage Site, Cuenca is one of Spain’s most memorable cities, its old centre a stage set of evocative medieval buildings, many painted in bright colours, stacked on a steep promontory at the meeting of two deep river gorges. Narrow meandering streets separate tall houses with wooden balconies that literally jut out over the sheer cliffs. Yet, despite its age and Unesco listing, Cuenca has somewhat ironically established itself as a vortex of abstract modern art. Two of its most iconic buildings – including one of the famed casas colgadas (hanging houses) – have transformed their interiors into modern galleries. It’s a theme continued in many of the town’s hotels, museums and restaurants.
My previous post is here.