A Day at The Museum

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“I paint what I see, sometimes like this, sometimes like that. I don’t brood about it, or experiment. If I have something to say, I say it the way I think I need to. There’s no transitional art. There are only good artists and not so good artists.”

Pablo Picasso

We found parking without an effort. That was the second ominous sign. The first one was the lack of the usual crowd in front of the doors. By the time we reached the imposing building, I was already sure it would be close. I had obviously perpetrated some kind of indecency to anger the Museum Gods and now they were refusing me the Prado… again.

I had been to Madrid before, but there hadn’t been enough time to visit the museum back then. This time, it would be different, I knew that – I would have plenty of time to do everything I wanted. But I was envisioning that visit to the Prado from the moment I started planning the trip. I could just see myself getting lost on the hallways, wondering from one gallery to another, unable to take in everything, but completely dizzy, floating because of that kind of experience which – instead of understanding it – you mostly feel exquisitely drowning your mind and spirit. That kind of place always makes me feel small – but small in the greatest way possible. I feel compelled to swallow some of my ego and pride. That avalanche of immortality and beauty makes me feel like a huge burden has been lifted, even if only for a brief period of time – if I am so wonderfully small, that can only mean that all my failures are absolutely insignificant, disguised by that comfortable blanket of anonymity.

I wanted to treat myself to that delicious sensation you get when opening a gift you just know is going to be wonderful. So I refused to look up the schedule – I knew it was a local holiday, but I greatly underestimated its importance. After all, I also knew the museum was open at the weekend and on most religious holidays, so they wouldn’t close it exactly that day… or would they? Well… all I can say is I wasn’t the only one naïve enough not to look it up in advance. All my anticipation turned into stifled frustration, I felt like stomping my feet and bitching and moaning about that great unfairness. I wanted my day at the museum; and once I set my mind on something, there’s no distracting me from it, not to mention that I can hardly perceive anything else as appealing. But a certain someone accompanying me had a head start on throwing his own tantrum, so at least one of us had to behave as an adult; sadly it was my turn that day. After all, it was too beautiful an afternoon to waste pouting. We came back a few days later and we finally managed to visit the elusive museum. There was even a very special treat in store for us, and although it was no longer a surprise, it was by no means less pleasant.

Travel as much as you can, see as much as you can; nobody will ever be able to take that away from you. That’s one of the not so many wise pieces of advice my mother gave me and it came to my mind that day, while staring thunderstruck at those Picasso’s the Prado was hosting temporarily. The entire experience proved to be overwhelming, as expected; the anticipation of getting to see some of Picasso’s paintings did nothing but enhance it.

I took my time to appreciate those moments. Nevertheless I was reluctant to leave.  The kid I once was, the one who didn’t dare to dream of seeing such treasures with her own eyes, was jumping up and down with joy. There are certain dreams – great and small alike – that we forget we had, simply because we buried them somewhere deep in our soul out of fear or uncertainty. Yet,  making them come true can be so surprisingly fulfilling…


24 thoughts on “A Day at The Museum

  1. I am always excited to get to see an art museum that is new to me – I can’t wait to get there. And then once inside I have that same feeling of floating around in a sea of ideas – I almost can’t wait to leave so I can sit down and process what I’ve seen and made use of a few of those ideas. Ideally I think I would go, look at about 10 pieces, leave, and come back soon to see 10 more. But of course I don’t have time for that so I look at every single thing I can fit in.
    It is surprising to me too how sometimes the exhibits that really stick with me, are the ones I thought I didn’t care for at the time I saw them. They needed a little time to grow on me.
    Thanks for sparking these thoughts!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ana, you write so beautifully and it really touched my heart. I had that experience visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam back in 1992 as a 21 year old. That was mindblowing!! Thank you for the reminder!
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A great inspiration – always. I adore Picasso too! Prado is a very big museum, and just like in Paris, you have to pick and choose – otherwise at least I cannot take everything in.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh… it was definitely too much for me too, one visit is not enough to take in everything it has to offer. I felt exactly the same way I did when visiting the Louvre – or rather part of it – years ago 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 🙂 Very nice!
    I haven’t been to Madrid yet, but I think it’s on my bucket list.
    However, I do like visiting museums, too, hence I’ve been to the Picasso museum in Barcelona…
    Have a very HAPPY week! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Barcelona is such a treat 🙂 I couldn’t make up my mind what to start with. Unfortunately, I spent little time there and I didn’t make it to the Picasso museum as well. But everything I managed to see was absolutely wonderful. It’s one of those places I would really like to see again, at least once more 🙂
      You have a beautiful week too!


    • I went through something similar. If left to my own devices, I enjoyed some of the museums; but if teachers or family were telling me what I was supposed to look at and what to think about what I was seeing, than I instinctively rejected the entire activity. In any case, nothing could have made me admit I actually liked some parts of the cultural activities forced on us 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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