Day 2 in Madrid, was another gloomy day, with plenty of cloud cover and drizzle. I decided to once again seek out some indoor splendor, so I decided on the Anthropology Museum, and the Reina Sophia, which both happened to be open and close by. On the way, I discovered two impressive works of architecture.
1: The Madrid Atocha Railway Station was completed in 1892. It was built by the Spanish architect Alberto de Palacio Elissagne in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel, known for the Eiffel tower in Paris.
2: Located nearby the railway station is the Palacio de Fomento, which serves as the headquarters for the Ministry of Agriculture. The imposing building was finished in 1897. The impressive bronze sculptures titled La Gloria y los Pegasos represent Agriculture , Industry, and Philosophy and Letters . They are bronze copies of original marble statues by the Spanish sculptor Agustín Querol.
3: Nearby these two landmarks was the Anthropology Museum. Among it’s collection, was a large array of artifacts originating from the Philippine Islands. The Philippines, named for King Phillip II of Spain, was part of the Spanish Empire for over 300 years. This collection includes a sword made from a Sawfish jaw from Mindanao Island, dated from the 19th century. I can imagine this sword being a very effective weapon.
4: The collection also includes the skeleton of Agustín Luengo Capilla, who was 2 meters 35 centimeters or 7.7 feet tall. While Capilla was still alive, the original owner of the museum Doctor Pedro Gonzalez de Velasco, offered to pay Capilla 2.50 pesetas a day, a tidy sum, if he would sell his remains to the museum upon death. Unfortunately he died shortly after striking this bargain.
5: After the Anthropology Museum, I proceeded to the Reina Sofia Art Museum. Named for Queen Sofia of Spain, the museum features a large collection of 20th century art. From this view of the internal courtyard, you can get an idea of the size of this museum. I spent the bulk of the day here.
6: Pablo Picasso is extensively featured in the museum. They have dozens of his works, including a huge painting called Guernica, which is over 11 feet tall and 25 feet wide. This particular painting was not allowed to be photographed. Besides this famous work, my personal favorite was Monument to the Spaniards Who Died for France. Both of these works were created to commemorate different facets of World War II.
7: They have a few works of Salvador Dali, including this fantastic piece titled Invisible Man. In this painting, the image of a man appears when unrelated elements are pieced together. It was worked on from 1929-1932, is considered his first painting of this style, and an unfinished work according to “reliable sources”.
8: A group of painters created this political work in 1960. They include, Enrico Baj, Roberto Crippa, Gianni Dova, Erro, Jean-Jacques Lebel, and Antonio Recalcati. It is titled: Grand tableau antifasciste collectif, and was part of th e Lost, Loose and Loved: Foreign Artists in Paris 1944-1968 Exhibition within the museum. It’s a very busy but cohesive composition, and you can make out World War II related imagery if you look closely.
9: From that same exhibition we have by Antonio Berni in 1963. It is composed almost entirely of trash and scraps of material. Juanito Goes to the City,
10: Wheat & Steak, a sculpture by the artist Antoni Miralda, is located on the terrace of a connected library building. I was unable to figure out if this was pro-carnivore or not. After staring at it for a few minutes I started to salivate, so most likely it was.