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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Toledo: a painted lady, ingenious gentlemen, pretty patterns, and assorted connections


In March we told you about the conservation of one of our portrait miniatures and its loan to an exhibition commemmorating the 400th anniversary of the death of its probable artist, El Greco. Last month the exhibition closed (on Bloomsday) and I went to Toledo bring the portrait back. I headed to the Philadelphia airport while the Ulysses readings were still in progress on Delancey Place, landed in Madrid the next morning, and took a shuttle bus to the station to catch a train for Toledo. Suddenly for a moment I was back in Dublin as the bus went past the James Joyce Irish Pub. I didn't have time to get a photo, but here's one from their web site:

James Joyce Irish Pub, Madrid
The  main portion of the exhibition was held here at the Museo Santa Cruz.

Museo Santa Cruz, Toledo, Spain
Most of the exhibition had been deinstalled by the time I arrived,

The last vestiges of the exhibition The Greek of Toledo being deinstalled at the Museo Santa Cruz.
The last vestiges of the exhibition The Greek of Toledo being deinstalled at the Museo Santa Cruz.

 but our lady was still in her case.

One of the museum's conservators and I checked her condition against the report made when she left the Rosenbach and found no changes, so I packed her up for the return trip.
The miniature packed for the return trip to Philadelphia.

Although the exhibition was over, there were still a lot of El Grecos on view elsewhere in the city.  I managed to see a number of them, and discovered other familiar faces as well.  Since Toledo is the capital of Castilla-La Mancha, I wasn't surprised to find this ingenious gentleman at the entrance to my hotel.
A metal sculpture of Don Quixote at the entrance to the Hotel Alfonso VI, Toledo

He also presided with Sancho Panza outside the hotel gift shop
Figures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza outside the gift shop at the Hotel Alfonso VI, Toledo
and the dining room
Figures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza outside the dining room at the Hotel Alfonso VI, Toledo

and in the surrounding streets in front of shops like this one.
Figure of Don Quixote outside a shop in Plaza Solarejo, Toledo.
Like him?  He's for sale.

 His creator has a striking and very accessible monument near the Museo Santa Cruz.

All over Toledo you see the interlaced geometric patterns of the style known as mudéjar, influenced by Arabic designs brought by the Moors and developed during the more than seven centuries they lived there.  They're in objects large and small; in wood,
Ceiling of the Synagogue of El Transito
Ceiling of the train station
masonry,
Central dome of the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz

Frieze in the train station
 ceramics,
Tiles at the Conference Centre El Miradero
and metalwork.
Toledo is famous for its steel, both swords and this ornamental work in blackened steel inlaid with gold and silver.

It all reminded me, of course, of another Rosenbach object, the binding of our copy of the 1491 Lisbon Pentateuch:


And, finally, for my fellow Ohioans, here's the sign for a street where I enjoyed a frozen yogurt one evening:

(I don't yet know what this one has to do with the Rosenbach; I'll have to look for a connection there and let you know what I find.)

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