Mystery Artist #2

This is a series of posts about Italy, Malta, and Spain that starts here.

Day Two in Granada.  We had breakfast in the hotel, which provided quite a spread.  There were suspicious items like greyish “Chickens Sasage,” but also smoked salmon.  I knew what I would be having for breakfast for five days.

There was one of those machines that makes regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino, tea, hot chocolate, and six other things. It all comes out of one spout, and somehow it’s always good.  The girl in me who grew up with skim milk and Folgers Crystals and no second helpings comes out at times like this.  I could have stayed in the dining room all day drinking different coffee and coco drinks until they asked me to leave.  Lynn would have gone to the room and put the chain on the door long before.

Fortunately there was also a coffee maker in the room, so I could continue my caffeine-ating while we discussed what to do that day.

I don’t know if men do this too, but here’s how it often is with women trying to decide what to do.

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t care—what do you want to do?”

“I don’t care.  How about the Superhumungous Museum?”

“Uhh … I guess so …”

“You don’t sound too keen.”

“Well I had hoped to go to the Smallish Museum.”

“Why didn’t you say so?”

“Well I don’t really mind what we do.”

When clearly, she does mind.  On and on it goes.  People trying to be nice are so irritating.

That’s not how it is with Lynn and me.  We’re flexible but know what we don’t want to do.  Which reminded me, I was going to have to come clean about the Flamenco dancing and say I would go, but only if we sat way in back where there would be no chance they would pull into an audience participation demonstration.  I talk a good game about being assertive, but I fully acknowledge how hard it can be.

We decided to check out the Jose Rodriguez Acosta Museum we had passed the previous afternoon.  The tickets were timed; ours were for 10:00 am so we had half an hour to kill.  We perused the art books on display and I got excited to see Acosta’s paintings, many of which featured Gitanos (gypsies, or Roma).

acosta-gypsies gitanos

We were the only visitors.  We chatted with the two young women at the desk.  They were both art history majors and lucky to have jobs here, they said.  We went out to the patio and enjoyed the view. If only there was a coffee machine.

jra-carmen

Finally, our tour began. One of the young women came out and led us down some stairs and outdoors.  It turned out that the place was a carmen, or formal gardens.  Acosta was from a wealthy family and built it for other artists.  No one was here in the winter, our guide said, but artists came to live and work in residencies at other times of the year.  Hmmm.  I would be glad to live there during “the winter,” as they called it—sunny and 65F.

topiary-and-fountains crown-hedge

We walked through the gardens, then down into the catacombs than ran beneath the complex.

jra-catacombs

These went for miles and connected to the Alhambra and other carmens so people could have secret assignations and so on, I guess.  It wasn’t completely clear.

We climbed back up to the street level and entered a tiny museum.  “Acosta’s works are in the Carlos V Museum in the Alhambra,” our guide informed us.  “But here you will find many important works by other artists, many of whom are unknown.”

I’ve said I’m not an art critic, but after the Vatican Museum, the Borghese Gallery, and the Prado, I didn’t need a PhD in Art History to question why they would call these “important” works.  Our guide stood by while we politely looked at the motley collection of crucifixes and Madonnas and martyrs, many by “Anonymous.”

Well, never mind!  The gardens were worth the five euro admission, and we could see Acosta’s work at the Alhambra the next day.

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