Saturday, October 9, 2010

At the Alhambra Palace

Posted by Maggie

On Thursday we spent the day at the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. We had pre-arranged artists' passes, so we were able to wander where we wished and avoid the long lines and timed entries we would have had otherwise. In a previous year when our workshop group went to the Alhambra, we were able to paint, but apparently, they decided at that point to not allow easels to be set up again. (If you're interested, you can read about that painting day on the Pastel Journal blog.) So we packed our sketching materials and our cameras, and set off to see what we could see.

The Alhambra Palace perches on a hill overlooking Granada, which looks like an interesting city to visit in itself. Parts of the buildings date back to the 9th century, but it has been continually added to, expanded, revised and remodeled over the years. It was abandoned for a number of years and then further restorations began in the 19th century. At present the restoration of the Lion Court is under way, as it has been for some years. The lions and fountain were placed in their original position in the 14th century, but had deteriorated over time. The restoration has revealed many interesting things about the lion figures, and the ground beneath the fountain contained architectural remnants as well. The lions are now on display in a special room (where no photography was allowed). Once thought to be all alike, the restoration has revealed quite a few differences between them.

The intricate decorations of carvings and tile are fascinating, but do not obscure the underlying architectural structure. I love the arches and doorways, the reflecting pools and the palms and other foliage surrounding them. I like photographing some of these complex architectural elements, though I wouldn't try to paint them!

After we walked for some hours, we went to a wonderful little restaurant for lunch, then walked some more. It became quite a hot day/ we were all tired by the time the bus collected us and the ride back to the hotel was very quiet.

Time passes so quickly in these workshops. We are all trying to absorb as much as possible, and it goes by too fast. But the paintings, photographs and memories of Spain will stay with us for years to come.

1 comment:

  1. Restoraion brings abt a great magnitute of difference in artwork! I've seen some interesting restorations in mustang (the nepalese state until recently closed to foreigners or tourists) and in rajasthan India. Usually flash photography will be banned around such peices of art.

    Alhambra palace tour