Thursday, January 29, 2009


After a productive morning of work, and then a lovely half-day in the city of Seville, which included an art installation at the Hospital de los Venerables titled “Recovering Classical Antiquity in Andalusia,” I turned for my temporary home on calle Vidrio. The show had given me access to one of the, if not THE most exquisite example of Roman statuary, a sleek, creamy white torso of a woman, altogether headless and mostly armless, carved a really long time ago. There were also some paintings of superior quality by Spanish painters of superior renown: Murillo, Zurbarán, and Velázquez. The Zurbarán I liked best. His “Inmaculada,” dated 1635, depicting the virgin, the Immaculate One, floating in a moony sky upon a platform of cherubic heads. I then lunched with friends in the Plaza de Alfalfa, and after took my newly habitual coffee at the Café de Indios.

All these lovely names sound exceptionally romantic to me, as I hope they do to you too.

Entering my flat, I looked forward to a few more hours of work, mostly reading and note-taking in preparation for the next day’s classes. The workers re-conditioning the building I’m in, their incessant drilling and pounding and yelling and the honking of their truck horns usually drives me batty, but it was beyond their hours, and I found it unusually quiet. No sooner had I settled in to complete my tasks, the sounds of amorous adventure in the room next door made any sort of intellectual inquiry quite impossible. Fortunately, they were out of shape, and probably heavy smokers, so I was back to work within 15 minutes.

This, I thought, is city living.