Madrid, like all the great cities of the world, has many of those special corners, which, little more than unnoticed for tourism in general, await, with mysterious parsimony, that visitor, bold and grateful, who knows how to dedicate him, at least, a surprise exclamation, because your media idiosyncrasy is well worth a visit.
Surprisingly, the situation of one such place, barely a hundred meters from that anthill of daily comings and goings, hugs and sighs, which is the Atocha station. A station, which as its name suggests, rises in the same atochar-spiny plant, whose texture is similar to esparto-where in that legendary medieval Magerit, snatched from the Muslims by King Alfonso VIII, the enigmatic image of a Black Madonna, very mysterious and of course, very miraculous, which according to some unverified sources, came from Antioch, dragging along a multitude of popular legends and devotions.
In fact, respecting the neo-Romanesque style -retrospective view, of an art of the past, which became fashionable again in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, endorsed, among others, by Violet-le-Duc, the architect and the restorer of the newly ill-fated Parisian cathedral of Notre-Dame-the basilica that houses it, also hosts the place we were referring to: the Pantheon of Illustrious Men.
And believe it or not, both, maybe it's a simple trick of fate-detail, in which I assure you that I do not believe-have a lot of relationship: the winning project of the pantheon, presented by the architect Fernando Arbós and Tremanti, in 1890, by title, precisely, the famous quote from the Song of Songs, by Solomon, which has always accompanied this special type of images: 'Nigra sum sed Fermosa'. That is to say: 'Black I am, but Beautiful'. Quote that, apparently, the famous Shulamite, the Queen of Sheba, dedicated to the women of Jerusalem, who looked at her with aversion.
But also, as an added artistic value to the place, it seems obvious, that the architect Arbós based himself, when elaborating his project, in the cemetery of the Piazza del Duomo, in Pisa. A project, which after many vicissitudes and failed attempts to house the remains of eminent figures of the History and Culture of Spain, such as Cervantes -which did not happen, because his remains still generate numerous controversies today- and to see how the remains of other relevant characters, after a time were returned to their original places of rest, houses, however, today, the remains of famous politicians and presidents of the Government, both conservative and liberal tendencies, some of which, like Cánovas del Castillo, murdered in the famous Puerta del Sol, or kilometer zero of Madrid, well known all over the world.
The lover of Art will discover that the funeral sculptures that house the cloistered wings of the Pantheon, mostly the work of the great Benlliure, seem so real, its drama is so perfect, that observing them it is difficult not to remember the old biblical stories and not see they that same divine force that turned Lot's wife into a statue of salt.
The marble comes to life, as shown, for example, in the exorbitant realism of the recreation of the descent into the tomb, very much in line with the famous poem by William Blake, in the grave of the murdered politician, José Canalejas. It is stone raised to the power of the flesh, which retains all the strength of the funerary archetypes of integration, regeneration and immortality.
The silence, in turn, becomes a psalm of praise to the stillness, to peace, far from that authentic overture of madmen that is the world and its infernal noise.
And finally, the light, which is transfigured in Mary Shelley's dream, whose Dantesque chiaroscuros generate fantastic forms that, comparatively speaking, become magnetic mandalas of light and shadow that invite reflection and endow the scenario with impossible memories.
In short, a really recommendable experience, that will bring the visitor to enter that cultural part of Madrid, which will not leave you in any way indifferent.
NOTICE: Both the text and the photographs that accompany it, and the video that illustrates it (except music, reproduced under a YouTube license) are my exclusive intellectual property.
Te invito a conocer el mundo del que estoy enamorado.
Image © juancar347. All Rights Reserved.
Original content by @juancar347
[Martial, latin poet]
Toca la imagen y participa.
Diviértete y disfruta.