Madrid has many large and famous museums which all merit a visit, but there are also smaller places that hide splendid displays of art within their walls. The Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida is such a place. It has been constructed in the 18th century, and while looking small and simple from outside, from inside it has impressive frescoes by no less painter than Goya. Moreover, the painter's remains have been buried here after they had been buried for a century in Bordeaux, where he died.
When you enter the chapel, you directly see the grave of the painter on one side, and then your attention is drawn to the mural paintings which adorn the walls, cupola and bows of the building. In the cupola, Goya represented the miracle of San Antonio who, according to legend, was transported from his own Padova to Lisbon with the help of an angel after a fidel prayed for his help. There, he resuscitated a slain person, who was then able to testify who murdered him, thus saving the father of the fidel who was wrongly accused of the murder.
Unfortunately, when I visited the frescoes were still under repair, and half the cupola was invisible. It was possible, though, to admire some already renovated frescoes and see the difference with those frescoes which still needed repair works. Overall, the frescoes are vivid and colourful displays of the mastery of Goya. I will surely come back after May 2003, when the repair works are supposed to be finished.
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