It's simply incredible I thought as I was standing in the wide hall watching the wall opposite me covered with huge paintings. I can't remember myself landing in Madrid airport or the hotel I'm staying in, and here I'm in the Prado museum again.
I didn't waste my time watching the entrance hall religious paintings; I knew these paintings by heart, including Goya's huge black and white "Saturday of…" Well I've had enough I thought, and turned to the corridor on my right, leading to the exhibits' galleries.
On both the corridor sides Goya's master pieces of the royal family were hanging, marvels no doubt each one of them; but Goya will have to excuse me, for I came to see Velazquez's "Las Meninas" and nothing else, and Goya didn't sent his arm forth from nowhere to stop me; although he's surely hurt and mad at me.
I was so impressed last time when I saw Velazquez's "Las Meninas", awestruck would be the right term… I must see it again, and spend all the morning hours or all day long watching it, I might be spellbound who knows...
The museum was not crowded thank God, and I reached the hall where this gigantic painting was hanging rather easily.
There were three regular size entrances to the hall, side by side through which one could watch that supreme achievement, that gorgeous master piece of 125'x108' hanging on the opposite wall. A red thick rope at about waist height, was hanging across the three watching portals, preventing the entrance to the hall itself.
No one except me to my surprise bothered to watch it, a few visitors moved here and fro behind my back; I didn't mind I was quite pleased I've Velazquez all to myself, I thought excited.
I was standing at middle portal watching the huge painting and Velazquez standing upright before the easel, with the palette in his left hand and a ready brush in his right; the Infanta Margarita and her maids of honor did hardly attract my attention. My eyes were seeing only the grand maestro in his glory.
'How have you managed to create such a marvel?' I mumbled quite aloud and my voice echo sounded in the hall to my alarm, or was it his laughter?
A haughty smile appeared on his lips. That's what it seemed to me, but isn't he entitled to be haughty?
'Is it your first visit?' He asked.
I couldn't believe my ears! I was astounded for a friction of a second. 'Oh it's my second one and I came especially to see you, I mean your painting.'
'I'm not surprised but it's nice to hear it, and where are you from? You don't look like a Spaniard.
'I'm from the holy land.
'Oh really, I wanted so much to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but the King won't let me… Have you visited it?'
'Oh yes, several times,' I hastened to reply.
'You must tell me all about it, tell you what meet me at Plaza Mayor, there's an inn there where I'm having lunch…'
'Don’t you dine on the King's table?' I wondered.
'Of course not, I hate ceremonies and it takes so much time and I must return to my easel. Well you'll better be on your way I can't take you along in my carriage, and it's a long way.'
'Muchas gracias Diegito, see you.' I thanked him and went right out. I couldn't tell him of course that I'm taking the subway.
I reached Plaza Mayor a bit late, but I did find the inn with no trouble at all, it was the only inn over there.
'Has senior Velazquez left already?' I asked the owner.
'There's no Velazquez among our clients, would you like an aperitif before lunch senior…?'
'A double scotch and no ice please.'
© Haim Kadman May 2012 – all rights reserved.