Friday, February 15, 2019

Another Museum, Another Day in Paradise

This week, we visited the Casa de Pilatos, so named to honor the house of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem. Apparently, the first Marquis of Tarifa visited Jerusalem in 1520-ish, and came home impressed by both Moorish and Renaissance ideas. The result is this palace, built upon by successive generations, a fascinating blend of Islamic and Christian design elements, still owned by the Medinacila family, with most sections open to the public.

We started downstairs with the main courtyard, a central fountain surrounded by four larger-than-life statues, one of Minerva. The fountain itself balanced atop two mysterious creatures, dolphins with teeth.

Since the 1500's, many generations have lived in this sumptuous palace, adding new wings and gardens. Most of the top floor is closed to the public, but we were taken on a tour of a few of these furnished rooms.

What wealth! Tables for 20 in a formal dining room, a smoking room for the men, a resting room for the women after dinner. Each room featured fascinating tiles, artworks, and Baroque furniture.

Even the ceilings were carved intricately, with the very large dining room featuring a wonderful painted tableaux of the sins and virtues of Hercules. Apparently diners were to be inspired by his virtues, and not his sins.

As we wandered through the palace, I began to feel as if each generation competed with the previous one to embellish their home, to make it larger and more beautiful, yet keeping a sense of reflection throughout. The downstairs, with courtyards open to the sky and extensive tiled walls were cooler and used in the summer, while the family retired upstairs in the winter, warmed by portable braziers.

The "new" garden at La Casa de Pilatos

Allen downstairs, admiring the azuelos (intricate tiles)

Minerva (detail) on guard at the central courtyard
Today, we return to the Archaeology Museum to see prehistoric figurines (we ran out of time last visit), and tomorrow we wake at 4 am for our day-long tour to Granada, where I last encountered gypsies so many years ago!

So much to explore and only two weeks remain.

1 comment:

Doomsday Writer said...

So pretty! I love museums. What prehistoric figures are you going to see?