Didem Doğan

An exhibition in Prado Museum: ‘Metapintura: a journey to the idea of art’

Where did art come from? Why does art exist? Prado Museum selects 137 art works in its collection and tells you a story so that you can think about these questions. Beginning from the Middle Ages and finalizing in 1819, the year when the museum was founded, you make a journey through certain themes: religion, mythology, portraits, art collectors… We start with the religious themes, El Greco’s painting named ‘the Veil of Veronica’, the face of Jesus on a cloth, an iconographic motif that became very popular at the end of the Middle Ages. On His way to Calvary a woman offered Jesus a white cloth to wipe the sweat and blood from His brow, and the features of His face became imprinted on the cloth (ref: museodelprado.es). Art, a way of legitimation of its existence through religious motifs; catholicism has become always at the origin of Christian art. We pass to the other hall: mythologies, one of them is Narcissus, and his admiration of his own image reflecting on the water… After that a comparison of two art works; the Museum reminds us about two major ones: one is Don Quijote of Cervantes, a novel within a novel; the other is Las Meninas of Velazquez, a painting within a painting. Two of them are similar in the way an art form reflects on itself and questions its own existence. The next hall is specially reserved to Tiziano; Tiziano, Vecellio di Gregorio, the painter from Venice of the 15th century. Just across his painting we see Las Hilanderas of Velazquez, reminding us his reference to Tiziano and Rubens. Like in his painting Las Meninas we see more than one space within the same painting… As we are finalizing the exhibition we see the painting of an art collector, we see him inside his own studio with all the art works he collected. And finally the famous painting of a little boy that looks as in three dimension, an example of a ‘tromp l’oeil', he’s escaping from the window, a metaphor that uses the painter to show that he’s escaping from the art critics. French philosopher Baudrillard has a book on the theme ‘tromp l’oeil’…