Day 3 was one of those days you inevitably have when traveling for a long time (or even when traveling for a short time) – nothing goes right, everything is closed, and the food sucks. It was bound to happen, and I’m sure we’ll have at least one more day like it. The important thing to remember in that situation is that there’s nothing you can really do about it, then just move on.
I will say that the day started off really well. We went to the Malaga Museum, which has only been open for six months or so – many tourist websites still list it as under construction. It was really interesting to be in a museum that had only recently been opened, and this museum was really outstanding. It had a wonderful collection of antiquities and examples of Spanish painting, with really informative panels that weren’t overwhelming to read (sometimes when I’m in a museum I just can’t do it anymore…). In addition, and most interestingly to me, there was a lot of information about the formation of the collections – how these objects came to be together in a museum. It was fascinating! (I will say that I only read carefully through the information about the antiquities collection, but I know there were similar informational panels for the paintings as well)
Like a lot of museums, the collection of antiquities in Malaga was a donation of a private collection, mostly acquired in the 19th century, after the rediscovery of Pompeii made everyone crazy for Greco-Roman shit. The couple who did the collecting, Jorge Loring y Oyarzábal and his wife, Amalia Heredia Livermore, were Spanish bourgeoisie, and Jorge’s father was a prominent tradesman from Boston (five points to anyone who can figure out if there is a connection between this family and Loring Hall at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens – I couldn’t find anything during a cursory glance at the American School website). Upper class families often used their wealth to obtain classical art work – most famously Lord Elgin – so it’s not surprising that this family did so. They even had a special “folly” Greek temple built on the property of their country estate to store and display their pieces.
I have always been fascinated by these people who had enough disposable income to buy ancient artifacts. And I have a love-hate relationship with them as well – this couple definitely saved some very important pieces from destruction, including a bronze tablet with a Latin inscription detailing the laws of ancient Malaga (it has also been argued that Lord Elgin saved those precious marbles from being destroyed as well…). But on the other hand, this couple at least was clearly keeping all these important pieces to themselves – the museum showcases many photos of their country estate, and describes the lavish house parties they threw there. A poor pleb like me would not have been able to go and see those ancient works. But, I also suppose, would I have wanted to? Would it have meant anything to a middle-to-lower class person during that socio-economic climate?
So many questions! I absolutely loved that the museum put all this information out there, and really embraced an often overlooked/swept-under-the-rug area of museum reality. On a panel about the Visigoths, who settled in the area after Rome fell, there was a frank admittance that interest in the Visigoths rose due to a desire by the government to align Spanish heritage with that of Aryan supremacy. I love that the museum put its collection into historical context like this – not just what the pieces are and information about their time period, but also how they came to be important and why.
So, if you ever get a chance to go to Malaga, definitely check out the Museo de Malaga!
I won’t talk about the failures of the day that occurred after our museum visit – just know that there were enough to make the whole afternoon a waste. But, we have the recovered our strength via wine and Twix bars, and Day 4 will see us driving to Seville!
PS – one set back of posting blog entries from my phone rather than my laptop is the lack of photos – I haven’t uploaded any of my photos yet since I don’t have my laptop with me, but I have taken a few photos on my phone. I do post to Instagram, so feel free to follow me there if you’d like (@ploy.keener), but I will try to figure out in the next few days or so how to post photos on my phone to a blog entry. And eventually, once I get home, all my nice DSLR photos will be up on my Flickr page.