Lectures are held at the Methodist Church in Kingsbridge and on Zoom at 2:30pm normally on the last Wednesday of each month. They last for 1 - 1¬Ĺ hours including a question and answer session at the end.
A Tour of Madrid: History and Art
Jennifer Morgan      Wed 25th September 2013
  The Kingsbridge Estuary Decorative and Fine Arts Societyís programme began with a lecture by Jennifer Morgan on the architecture, art and history of Madrid. The city took shape under the Moors in the early ninth century, was taken by the Christians in 1085, but really came to life under Philip II who moved his capital from Toledo to Madrid and planned the Grand Square, built in two years by Philip III in the early 1600s. Not bad for a government project : Spanish kings had a way with them. Contemporary paintings show the square as a setting for the pomp and ceremony of parades but also the darker side of autos da fe.
Madridís architecture borrowed from other parts of the Spanish empire, especially the Low Countries and part of Italy : brick built with stone facing around windows, steep slate roofs, small towers with obelisks and crosses, and high facades. Even the main monasteries of the city boasted polished terracotta floors, oak staircases and heavy beams; their corridors were lined with pictures and small altars of painted or gilded wood against bright white walls. The monastery of the barefoot nuns tended to attract those who could contribute generously.
The Hapsburgs bred themselves to death in 1701. Their Bourbon successors built a new palace with a touch of Versailles and, of course, one staircase for the king, another for the queen. Venetian chandeliers and Italian rococo chairs completed the homely feel.
Our lecturer selected a small number of paintings and gave us various interesting insights into their less obvious features. The Hapsburgs were great collectors and the Prado contains a roll call of great names from Titian and Velasquez through Bosch to Goya. The Thyssen Bornemisza gallery contains some 800 paintings from early Renaissance artists to Edward Hopperís reflections on modern life in the twentieth century.
There is clearly much to occupy the senses of the traveller to Spainís capital.