Putting my heart into art
One of the aspects of my job that I enjoy most is having the opportunity to promote Europe's great artworks.
Whenever my schedule allows, I always make a point of trying to visit art galleries or museums. In the past week, in the margins of the informal education Ministers' meeting in Madrid, I was invited to visit two of the most celebrated art museums in Europe, the Prado and Reina Sofía, as well as the new CaixaForum cultural centre.
The Prado boasts the world's finest collection of Spanish painting, with works by Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, El Greco and Murillo, as well as Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio and others. The Reina Sofía focuses on contemporary art and includes Pablo Picasso's outstanding Guernica and works by Salvador Dalí and Joan Miro. The CaixaForum, a converted former power plant, was the setting for an impressive exhibition by Miquel Barceló, one of Spain's foremost contemporary artists.
This coming week (28 April) sees the opening of the third "Art and Finance in Europe" exhibition in Brussels, for which I am honoured to be patron. The exhibition (full title: 'Art and Finance in Europe-17th Century Masterworks in a new light') comprises masterpieces by, among others, Daniel Seghers, Jan I Breughel, Rembrandt and Rubens. The exhibition, organised by the European Association of Public Banks in association with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, runs until 5 September. Visitors receive a catalogue free.
Whilst there's nothing like seeing great paintings close-up, I also enjoy dipping into the wonderful Europeana digital library, which features seven million digital paintings, books, drawings, maps, photographs, recordings and other items from sites including the Rijksmuseumin Amsterdam, theBritish Libraryin Londonand theLouvrein Paris.