Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Toledo (Spain IV)

We spent one full day exploring Toledo, a beautiful but very touristy town. The cathedral is mentioned on all the guides so in we went, shelling 8 Euros to enter the imposing structure.
If there was a concept of "kitsch" in the 13th century, this would be it. Everything is overdone, from the wall decoration to the chairs. Sober is not a word that would be included in the dictionary of the builders of this place. I got bored very quickly and make my way to the gallery that my guide recommended.

My mother is too tired to follow me and I explore the rooms by myself. I can't believe what I see. At the difference of the rest of the cathedral, the gallery seems almost neglected. Cramped and dimly lit, the walls are covered by paintings that are hard to see in their full glory. Each one of these paintings would make the joy of a museum but here, they seem forgotten and dismissed. A painting by El Greco is simply put on the mantelpiece, leaning against the wall without any visible support. I can get as close as I like from the frame and the canvas. A Carravagio is hanged too high to get a good look at it. I can't find the Goya advertised in the guide. Some paintings are hung one over another to use all the wall space possible. I'm dismayed by the lack of care for these paintings. When I will tell of the experience to friends, they'll assure me that the paintings are probably fakes put there for display. I hope that's the case because otherwise, whoever is in charge is guilty of unbelievable neglect toward these masterpieces. The thought occurs to me that a thief would be entitled to steal them if only to ensure that they are kept properly.


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