Spain- El Prado

SPAIN: El Prado in Madrid, Spain is one of the most famous museums in the world, housing over 27,000 objects and artworks. In fact, it was the Google Doodle just this week, which celebrated the museum’s 200th anniversary! For this exhibit, students took an 8.5×11 copy of Still Life with Game, Vegetables, and Fruit (the first Spanish still life, by Juan Sánchez Cotán) and transferred it by eye to a large trifold, trying to imagine how artists filled such massive canvases. Fourth graders did an amazing job here! (See below.)

During the painting process, one student learned that the Prado was actually robbed in 2014— of a shocking 885 artworks. As a result, more than several classes were spent trying to merge their Spanish news show (including translated advertising slogans and commercial breaks) with an iMovie green screen breaking news “robbery” of their paintings in the style of Oceans 12. Ultimately, the project lost steam, but it was fun while it lasted! Here is the soundtrack we used.

FEATURED ARTISTS: Juan Sánchez Cotán, El Greco, Salvador Dalí, Diego Velázquez


Still Life with Game, Vegetables, and Fruit, Juan Sánchez Cotán

“This is considered the first surviving bodegon, or Spanish still life. As a result, it is one of the most famous paintings in the Prado. Still life with Game, Vegetables, and Fruit is one of six known Sanchez Cotan paintings. Nonetheless, he is called the father of Spanish still life painting. As a result, Sanchez Cotan’s style–a strong light source illuminating objects set against a black background–heavily influenced Spanish painters. They subsequently influenced other European painters.”

Source unknown

La vista de Toledo, El Greco

“The painting is also so admired and famous because of its beauty. The way El Greco painted the sky is considered to be among the best representations of the sky in Western art. It has been compared to Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, which was painted around 300 years later. The use of contrast between the dark sky and the brilliant green hills is also admired. […]

The dominating and ominous sky creates a sense of danger and vulnerability for the city below. Art historians consider this painting to represent El Greco’s idea that the world outside can be dangerous and how there are more powerful forces than we can sometimes see.”

El-Greco.org

The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dalí

“This iconic and much-reproduced painting depicts a scene with watches melting slowly on rocks and the branch of a tree, with the ocean as a backdrop. Dali uses the concept of hard and soft in this painting. This concept may be illustrated in a number of ways like the human mind moving from the softness of sleep to the hardness of reality. In his masterpiece, Dali uses melting watches and rocks to represent the soft and hard aspects of the world, respectively.

The Persistence of Memory has been much analyzed over the years as Dali never explained his work. The melting watches have been thought to be an unconscious symbol of the relavitiy of space and time; as a symbol of mortality with the ants surrounding the watches representing decay; and as irrationality of dreams. The Persistence of Memory is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of twentieth century art. It is not only the most famous painting of Salvador Dali but also the most renowned artwork in Surrealism.

Source Unknown

Las Meninas, Diego Velázquez

“The Infanta Margarita of Spain stands between her two maids of honour, Doña Isabel de Velasco and Doña María Augustina Sarmiento, who curtsies to the little princess as she offers her a beaker of water. 

On the right stand two dwarves, Mari-Bárbola and Nicolás de Pertusato, the latter of whom gently pushes a sleeping bull mastiff with his foot so that the dog will attend to his master and mistress, Philip IV of Spain and Queen Mariana. The king and queen are reflected in a mirror at the back of the room as they stand under a red curtain and pose for the court artist, Velázquez himself.

30,000 Years of Art