Madrid, Jordi Molla and El Greco

No, not at the zoo, but the show window of a fish restaurant inviting you to a gourmet dinner !
A view of Madrid from my hotel room
I am in Madrid to talk about a movie (tell u about that one later) but also to see my friend Jordi Molla, who played King Phillip in Golden Age. We have been great friends since, and despite being a big star in Spain, Jordi is one of the humblest persons I have ever met. We keep promising to do a film together again and even a short film would be great. Something we could shoot in Barcelona maybe, in about 20 days. Madrid is a vibrant cultural city. Cinema, art, Theatre and Opera. And then there is the food. Oh my God, by the time you have finished lunch people are already discussing dinner. Have to get away before I become a balloon.
I have been to Madrid before but every time I come, I have to go to the Prado Museum. It has some of the best works of Rubens, Goya, Rembrandt, Rafael and others. But mainly I come to see the paintings of El Greco. Yu cannot stand in front of some of his paintings and not be moved by the emotional turmoil contained in them. The only other artist that has that effect on me is Van Gough. The Prado has the largest collection of El Greco in the world. I find Greco fascinating and even at a time where expressionism in religious art could put you squarely in prison, El Greco was painting dark fantasies (he apparently went through a very dark period himself) using religious iconism. And some of his art where he broke free of the strictures of religious iconism, is amongst the most beautiful of expressionistic work I have seen even in the great modern artists.
“Art is not submission and rules, but a demon which smashes the moulds”

5 thoughts on “Madrid, Jordi Molla and El Greco

  1. El Greco was born in Crete, he trained and became a master within that tradition before travelling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done.he then moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of the Renaissance. In then moved to Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Spain Greco received several major commissions and produced his best known paintings – his paintings are too dark for me:)

  2. Dear Shekhar,
    I am glad you are seeing the Europe I love. I had been a number of times in Madrid in the 70s and had visited the mesones, the watering holes for the locals, where the true Spanish soul is at display, where the obvious chauvinism of the Spanish man is at display, yet reduced to a charming quirkiness and where the Rioja makes you want to be one with the culture of this magnificent country. Few things can be more enchanting than travelling away from the places that have become all too familiar, at least for a while, looking into the unfamiliar face of a world that is alluring and yet often scary and mysterious.
    While I am writing this, less than 24 hours ago New York has displayed the qualities that make it so unique, so multi-dimensional. How this pilot landed a crippled plane with a coolness under immense pressure and how New Yorkers again peeled away their rough outer layers of gruffness to reveal this relentless desire to help and to show the warmth of their compassion, will reverberate for a long time. Seeing the world in the grip of all this mayhem, killing and hate mongering and this unmitigated anger and fanaticism it is an incredible diversion to watch the humanity of a fireman to hand over his jacket to a freezing passenger of this doomed airliner. To see more than 150 people leave the sinking aircraft without panic and jostling and then see many of them standing on a wing that slowly disappeared beneath the water, with an almost strange dignity, conjures up memories of the same qualities that were at display on September 11, 2001.
    The pictures of the Hudson miracle have gone around the world. As Pete Seeger sings “when will they ever learn”?
    With kind regards.

  3. Dear Shekhar,
    I hope you are having a wonderful time in Madrid and enjoying some really good food. They have this concept of “siesta” which is so unique to spain as they want to have a big and full meal at lunch, where as most of the industrialized world has reduced lunch to “grab a sandwitch, grab a coffee,” so I’m sure you are enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. I have never been to spain, although I did get a chance to go on a consulting project for a retailer called Caprabo in Barcelona, and almost all my experience of Spain is through Pedro Almodovar’s films. I saw 5 in 5 days in a festival of his films in New York and I truly loved Madrid and Barcelona. I wish you a very wonderful stay there.
    Best Regards,

  4. I enjoy everything Spanish from Penelope Cruz to the Bull fights.They are a bit heavy on beef and garlic for me though.
    And forgive me to choose between artists but I certainly prefer Dali to either Van Gough or El Greco.Dark and Sad simply turns me off.Although my Dad was gracious enough to have gifted me ‘Lust for Life’ by Irving Stone on VanGough to read in my teens the tragedy was too much for me.That book did reinforce Otto Fuerbringer’s famous question “Is God Dead?”.
    But as I found later in life there is no need to be so pessimistic.Even if the so called “God” is dead the ability to have faith cannot be.And Faith simply gives birth to and strengthens the God within.So God can simply not die.
    Although this is not connected here while I was in Mumbai I happened to see a film at Whistling Woods library named “God is Brazillian”- an absolute beauty.There was a dialougue in it which goes “There are no sad endings and if its sad the story hasn’t eneded yet.” I think It was picked from here for a Hindi film.But anyways this is the truth that I endorse.
    Does Quantum Physics not say that the result of the experiment depends on the observer?Is that not what Faith and religion are all about?
    I liked the scifi film “The Sphere” on this topic very much.

  5. Which particular Van Gogh.
    Why would it even register, self indulgence or otherwise?
    Because the world gave in, slept and went its way when Israel was gifted stolen land. This story could not have evolved any other way, the scars snd faultlines run deep.

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