The Prado

We had only three days in Madrid, so we planned to spend a big chunk of one of them at the Prado. Of course, it’s a big museum, so even in a whole day it’s impossible to see everything. For some reason, as I walked into the first gallery, I decided to limit my viewing to only pictures with dogs in them.

Of course, I wasn’t dogmatic about it, but it did seem to be a good thing to do. I walked into a room, looked at the bottoms of all the pictures, and went over and looked carefully at the ones with a dog. Of course, sometimes I ended up looking at one with a sheep instead. There were a lot of Adorations of the Shepherds, and a lot of hunting scenes, but my favorites turned out to be:

  • The Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark
    [loading Noah's ark]
    The Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark by Jacopo Bassano, ca 1570

    There are two pairs of dogs here. Three of them are looking at the pair of ducks as if they are thinking of them more as dinner than as fellow passengers, but one has gotten tired of waiting in line for the ark and has curled up to take a nap.

  • Easily the most disturbing dog in the museum is, unsurprisingly, Goya’s Half-submerged Dog.
    [goya's drowning dog]
    Half-submerged dog by Goya, 1820-1823

    This was especially upsetting to us because of how much the dog looks like my sister’s current dog, Monte.
    Monte, June 2009

    I can’t find links, but there were actually several other Goya paintings of dogs — he apparently was a dog-owner, and we have lots of letters to his friends discussing his dogs.

  • I can’t find a link, but there was also a very nice Last Supper with a dog and cat fighting under the table.

Valencia Botanic Gardens

I’ll be writing more posts about this trip to Spain, but I’m putting this one up first, because I got the most pictures here.

This was Tuesday, August 12, my last full day in Spain and the day on my own in Valencia. I had considered going to the cathedral, or taking the bus to the beach and saying hello to the Mediteranean Sea. But I had seen several cathedrals and museums, and decided that a walk to the river and a stroll around the was the right thing to do.

[mother, with carnivores]
My mother, in the last year of her life, at an exhibition of carnivorous plants.

It was unexpectedly sad — my mother, who died last year, would have really loved it. It was the best cactus collection I've ever seen, and she loved cactuses. There was also a very nice greenhouse, which reminded me of the one at Kew Gardens which I spent a lot of time in with her in 1984.

So since I can't show her my pictures, you have to look at them instead. Here they are: