The latest from the team that brought us Caravaggio: The Soul and The Blood and Water Lilies of Monet: The Magic of Water and Light is THE PRADO MUSEUM A COLLECTION OF WONDERS .
It is perhaps at times a bit overwhelming and excessively rich as we explore the history, building, and many famous works housed in the collection of the Prado Museum .
Dramatically narrated by Jeremy Irons we learn of the Museum’s two hundred year history and view some of its collection.There are interviews with curators and we see a little of the fascinating conservation and restoration work that is involved. Included are spectacular landscape shots and the interior and exterior of the building and how now the Museum is for The People bringing art to the masses, a living museum that moves and changes . Fascinating footage is included of a touring section of the Museum during the early 1930’s and how the Museum survived the Spanish Civil War and World War 11.
Six centuries of Spanish history are covered – we see various portraits and learn the history of its of kings and queens, from Ferdinand of Aragon’s marriage to Isabella of Castile – which marked the beginning of the great Spanish empire – and various later painters, artists, architects, collectors, curators, intellectuals and visitors.
A painting or other artwork can be analysed as colour, canvas ( or other media) , form and, matter, but it is also the story of men and women, both rich and poor, rulers and artists ,queens and palaces . Interviews include ,for example ,the director of the Prado, Miguel Falomir and Sir Norman Foster, the architect who worked alongside Carlos Rubio to carry out the restoration of the Salón de Reinos and its conversion into a museum.
The Prado was founded in 1819 – thanks to Ferdinand VII’s wife, Maria Isabella of Bragranza, and her love of art – and its collection has been further developed over the years thanks to the great foresight of rulers and art historians who selected works by the great masters from all over Europe. So viewers see how art is an international language with no real barriers .
There are over eight thousand works housed in the Prado’s extraordinary collection .The documentary concentrates particularly on the works by Goya ( eg his paintings The Third of May and The Fifth of May but also his nightmare paintings Los Caprichos and how this was social critique of the time ) and Velasquez ( eg :Las Meninas and his other incredible court portraits ) but also there are mentions of Lorca , Caravaggio, Dali, Picasso, Botticelli, Rubens , Bosch , Giordarno, Guido Reni, Mantegna, Durer, Brueghel, de Zubaran ,Tintoretto, El Greco, Titian and and and … so many famous paintings! Not forgetting, to name but a few, the sculptures, glass work, tapestries, a special clock collection and a photographic collection and archive.
We see both long panning shots of various rooms of the Prado and some of the works are photographed in great close up and analysed by various experts and curators .There are also fiery sequences of Flamenco dance linked in with discussion about the Spanish soul and history and how this links in with the paintings; the contrast between body and soul, wealth , nobility and misery, The history of the female nude in particular is examined and how it is linked to ‘mythological ‘ paintings , and also the male nude and homo-eroticism . Another interesting issue raised is the lack of representation of female painters.
This was a fascinating look at the Prado’s collection. As Picasso said “ Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Running time 90 mins ( approx.) no interval
THE PRAO MUSEUM A COLLECTION OF WONDERS screens at selected arthouse cinemas from July 13 2019