Museo del Prado, Madrid

When I was four years old, we moved to Madrid. My favourite place was the El Retiro park, a 125 hectare haven, not far from where we lived. From there, it wasn’t far to walk to the Prado, one of the world’s most renowned art galleries. Leaving my mother and sister behind, I skipped across the square, straight past a colossal statue. When I finally reached the six gargantuan columns at the entrance, I stopped and waited for them. Looking up, I felt like a dwarf from the fairytales my sister had read to me. Surely, this palace was where giants lived.

            Years later, my daughter, Ella travelled to Madrid and retraced my footsteps. ‘It says something for a city when art galleries don’t charge admission fees for students,’ she said about the Prado. It was a place of refuge for her. Works by famous Spanish artists like Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dali and Miro are found in this gallery, boasting a rich history of Spanish art. She loved them all. And I still remember the gallery clearly, but through the eyes of a child.

            Once inside the giant’s palace, we must have walked through many rooms. It was a most peculiar place. Giants had hung colossal paintings of themselves having fights, eating enormous plates of fruits or walking in dark forests. I was particularly taken by one of the paintings. A group of well-dressed but terribly old-fashioned people stood stiffly, looking straight at me. What caught my eye was the child in the centre. He was dressed in red and looked straight into my eyes no matter where I stood in the room. It was as if he were pleading with me to take him away from the stuffy adults. He looked like a little boy who just wanted to play.

            ‘That painting is very famous,’ my mother said, noticing my interest. ’A Spanish painter called Goya painted it a long time ago. That boy looking at us was a prince.’ 

            I looked at the sad prince in his red pants and found a place to sit with him for a while. I was getting tired walking in the giant’s palace and needed a rest.

‘Will you be alright to stay here for a little while?’ my mother asked.

Yes, I was happy to be left alone with the prince. I rested on a tufted leather bench and stared at my prince from afar. I thought he was a bit like me, surrounded by adults, yet lonely for company. And I knew in my heart that I would always remember him.

7 thoughts on “Museo del Prado, Madrid”

  1. Wow! If you still remember that day, that painting from when you were four, it was either an amazing day, or you were a child with a good eye for art. On second thoughts, I think it was an amazing for you, a child with a strong eye for art. You certainly grew up to have a strong quill. Thank you for sharing this lovely memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it was an amazing day. Not sure that I have ever had a good eye for art which doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate art that I like. You were the artist I looked up to in my teens.


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