Plaza Mayor

How alarming and humbling to stand in a square so alive, where bullfights and executions competed for most popular attraction a few hundred years ago. I´ve been reading a wonderful book with excerpts of people´s experiences in Madrid over the last 500 years. One British visitor in the late 1700s complained that the sight of the flagelants crossing the square during religious festivals was really irritating. I believe public self flagelation was outlawed in 1782, so it´s no longer an issue.

That said, what a riveting city with such rich and disturbing history and vibrant art. Next post, Goya´s black period, 2 May and 3 May 1808, and Guernica, for which you can forgive Picasso any of his late-in-life commercialism.

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