ost of us have been to Málaga, many times, usually to the airport, shopping or to a concert. This time we went as a group of tourists, visiting some of the sights, the Picasso Museum, the Alcazaba, the Roman theatre, the Cathedral and finally the Centre of Contemporary Art.
The morning is a good time for the Picasso museum as it is relatively quiet. Our guides made us look at the paintings in detail and describe in words what we saw; we talked to the guide as much as we listened; we must have spent ten minutes or so in front of some of the paintings. For many of us it was an eye-opener; those weird shapes and colours do have some shared meaning to some people; many of us will now look at Picasso and indeed the work of other artists quite differently.
The Málaga collection is sometimes described as what he did not sell and what he kept for the family, and so is a rather patchy selection. However the new policy of the several Picasso museums appears to be to exchange and interchange regularly their various pieces, so that what is actually on show in Málaga is continuously changing. It is worth going regularly as in six months time the display will be very different.
If Picasso becomes too much, the building itself is there to be enjoyed. For us the sun shone and the sky was blue and the interior patio of the Moorish palace showed itself to best advantage. You can understand why the Arabs stayed a long time in Andalusia.
After lunch we were guided to an elevator behind the Ayuntamiento which took us to the top point of the Alcazaba. The various building and rooms of the palace clearly predate Córdoba and Granada. The military purposes are clear from the view commanded in both directions over the port and new buildings in front. We walked down, not up, which would have been an effort for many, and then to the Roman theatre. This of course can be seen from the road, but you have to sit in it for a few minutes and imagine the Roman scene.
The Cathedral is only a few minutes away, very impressive in size and scale and results of recent restoration evident. As our guide pointed out restoration cannot hide the original builder's mistakes in the roof vaulting, giving rise to rather strange shapes in the stonework high above the visitors' heads.
Finally to Centre of Contemporary Art, by which time some of our party preferred to rest their aching feet rather than feast their aching eyes. In the current exhibition there are flat painted surfaces which give the illusion of modelling so that waves, contours and different colour shadings appear on a flat surface. What would Picasso have done with this technique - three dimensional illusory cubism perhaps?
Málaga is close enough for a long day's sightseeing to be possible. We saw a great deal in one day, and there is much more for another day. Many thanks to Helen and Wim for an excellent day trip.