I was 25 or so when I first visited Madrid. I usually do not consult a travel guide except for the very basic information. So I entered the Museo del Prado without any preconceptions.
If my recollection is correct, I think it was the very first room. There, in front of me, was The Garden of Earthly Delights painting by Hieronymus Bosch. Naturally I knew this masterpiece of exotic and striking images already, and have looked at its details admiringly in art books. It is just that I did not expect this painting to be housed in the Prado. It was thus a completely out of the blue thing.
"So, here was this painting!" I realized in an electrifying shock.
I was spellbound, and could not say a word.
Next to me, there was a young guy in T-shirt and with a backpack. Apparently he was a student from the United States. His jaws were literally gaping. He looked at the painting with wide open eyes, and shook his head from time to time as if in disbelief.
We stood in awe before the Garden of Earthly Delights for a long time. There was a strange comradeship between him and me, although it was quite unintended.
I imagined: Maybe this guy saw this painting for the first time in his life. He did not know there was such a painting as the Garden of Earthly Delights.
It was a case where two kinds of onceness in life were being played out in that gallery of the Prado.
I felt that every breath and pulse of my trembling existence was being blessed by the garden of earthly delights. I vividly remember the sensations to this day.
The Garden of Earthly Delights. (Part)