|Statuary in Audubon Terrace in front of the Society with iconic equestrian statue of El Cid |
by American sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington
Actually, I think that they receive such few visitors -- I was the only visitor there for over an hour! -- that the guards don't really do much of anything. Please give these guys something to do and visit this magnificent art collection; it's always FREE!
But really, the crown jewel of the Society's collection are its paintings. They have original paintings by, among others, Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya, Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco -- see right), and Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida.
The Sorolla paintings are my absolute favorite--it reminds me of the Sorolla Museum (which was once the painter's home) where I spent countless afternoons when I lived in Madrid during my junior year in college. The way Sorolla captures water and sunlight on skin in summer time beach scenes is something that I have never forgotten and believe no one can match (see left and right--yes, I know these pictures are terrible, but hopefully that will encourage you to come see them for yourself).
The Sorolla Room's breathtaking panoramic series of 14 canvases illustrating life in Spain in the early 1900s is a beautiful way for the Society to share with visitors a celebration of Spanish culture, costumes, and pastoral life. I have included some pictures below, but really they do not do the paintings justice and you should really visit the galleries here (Hispanic Society Info).
I can't emphasize this enough. After several months of exploring NYC I think this place is really one of the best kept secrets and hidden jewels of the City. Please visit The Hispanic Society of America. You'll be abundantly rewarded for the effort of coming all the way up to 156th Street.