In February of 1969, almost fifty years ago, my traveling partner, Ken Jewett, and I, two prairie boys traveling the world for the first time, visited the Prado Museum in Madrid. It seemed like one of the things a person should do in Madrid. We spent a long time in the museum, viewing a collection of some of the best art the world had to offer, my first experience of that kind. I left the place changed forever by the impact that viewing great art in person can make. I was particularly impressed by the great Spanish painters, El Greco (born in Crete but painted in Spain) and Goya. The Prado contains the largest number of their works and that day began my appreciation for great art that continued and grew in the other art galleries in Europe in the months to follow.
Today we spent four hours in the Prado, and I once again enjoyed its excellent collection of European art. In many ways, I am still the prairie boy, overwhelmed by the culture expressed by these masterpieces. Once again, there were works of art that stopped me dead in my tracks with their portrayal of human emotion and character on a flat piece of canvas. I was particularly impacted by some of the religious art, steeped in the European culture of the past, the resonates with my own spiritual walk. The depiction of scenes in the life of Jesus in such a powerful and authentically emotional way, will never be duplicated. What a privilege to experience these works again and measure what has and has not changed in that simple prairie boy, who is still trying to make sense of the world.