3 takeaways for copywriters when visiting Prado museum in Madrid

National Museum of Prado is not only one of the biggest art galleries in the world but a great source of inspiration and thinking reshaping of a content creator. I’ve taken three things that I would like to share with you because our work has so much in common with Rubens’s, Tiziano’s, el Greco’s and many others painters’ work. 

 

by Diana Serban

Let’s think a little bit. Which was the role of a court painter? To communicate to the world the way of being and living of the sovereign and his family. So what was he doing? Creating content as we do nowadays. What got my attention in a special way was the principles they use to communicate through their paintings… principles that we use nowadays too and would be suitable to be more conscious about them:

The story 

The gallery that really fascinated me was the Black Paintings of Francisco Goya. 

In 1819 the painter bought a home in the countryside, known as Quinta del Sodo, out of Madrid, near Manzanares river. During his stay out there Goya decorated the walls of two of the living rooms with paintings. They are all representative for the last part of the painter’s life: full of mystery and with black as prominent color… this is why they are known as the Black Paintings.

Even they are so sober and highlights sadness and darkness the story of those paintings is what makes them so remarkable. Imagine they were on the walls of Goya’s countryside house and they have been taken from there and moved to Paris before being donated to the Pardo Museum at the end of the 19th century. And they are in perfect conditions even after almost 100 years.

What a story… so what we have here are not only paintings. We have a piece of Goya’s house… this really impressed me and I am sure I will remember this all my life. It works the same with the story of a brand. A good story gets in the consumers’ mind and stays there forever.

Saturn devouring his son (1820-1823) – Francisco Goya

Emotions

Every single work of art in this museum express his own emotion, from despair an sadness in religious pictures from the 13th century, to decency in gothic paintings, pride, and power in the flamed and renascent period to melancholy, peace, and joy in romantic paintings. I’ve seen tears, despair, sadness, love, trust, honesty… I’ve seen them all in the eyes of all those people living forever in those paintings. 

I’ve been walking through the 102 galleries of the museum for 6 hours and I realized that emotions are a key feature that differentiates a work of art from a drawing. And for sure it is one of the reasons every single painting in this museum is in here, admired by millions of visitors every year. 

It is the same with the texts and videos we create nowadays. Remember the classical Christmas advertising of Coca-Cola? For me it is directly connected with my childhood and every year when I see it I feel like back in time, like that time when I saw it for the first time. This is the role of emotions when speaking about content… they keep it alive in the consumer’s mind for a long time. And PRADO’s collections are the proof that this is right… they are 200 years since people want to see them. I am sure I will be back here with my children and grandchildren too.

Experience

During my visit, the museum hosted a temporary exhibition of Bartolomeo Bermejo (1440-1501) who is one of the most fascinating artists of the 15th century. Bermejo’s work is based on the use of the pictorial potential of the then-novel technique of oil painting. From this starting point, he is able to formulate a distinctive language of a realist type that was particularly attentive to illusionistic effects but also to the definition of a spectacular chromatic range.

Bref, Bermejo’s paintings allow the characters to leave the painting. It is like they try to get out and together with the colors it is a great and refreshing experience. I felt so good, like when you eat a piece of cake 🙂

San Miguel triumphing over the devil with Antoni Joan, by Bartolomé Bermejo

Final thoughts

By leaving the museum I was thinking what a great thing is to do something which is useful and inspiring for many people*, as Prado museum is. Shall we all do this in our work? What would the world look like…

* The National Prado Museum is the main museum of Spanish national art located in the center of Madrid. It is widely regarded as one of the finest collections of European art in the world, dating from the 12th century to the beginning of the 20th century, based on the old Spanish royal collection and the best collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculptures in 1819, it also contains important collections of other types of works. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world and is considered one of the largest art museums in the world.

The building that now houses the National Prado Museum was designed in 1785 by the Spanish Enlightenment architect, Juan de Villanueva, by order of Charles III, who was to house the Natural History Cabinet. Nevertheless, the final function of the building was not decided until his grandson, Ferdinand VII, encouraged by his wife, Queen Marie Isabel de Braganza, decided to use it as a new royal museum of paintings and of sculptures. The Royal Museum, soon to become the National Museum of Painting and Sculpture, and the Museo Nacional del Prado, opened its doors to the public for the first time in November 1819.

Post by Diana

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