Two Spanish museums, both located in Madrid, the Prado Museum and the newly built Museum of Royal Collections, are having a ‘Mexican standoff’ that involves fighting over four paintings, including the world-famous tryptich ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Dutch medieval painter Hieronymus Bosch. The new museum is scheduled to open in 2016 and has been told by many experts that it won’t attract the number of visitors expected with the pieces it currently has in its possession.
The Spanish royal family have owned the Bosch painting since 1593 and had it restored in 1933 then stored at the Prado in 1936. The painting has been on loan for a long time, but now that the Museum of Royal Collections wants to have it, the Prado won’t budge. The chairman of the Prado’s board said that if the country’s public heritage agency who owns the painting wanted to have it for its new museum, they’d have to “wait until hell freezes over”. Other museums around Spain are on alert because some of their paintings could be next.
(Links: www.nytimes.com, www.omroepbrabant.nl, Illustration: fragment of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Conjurer)
Tags: Hieronymus Bosch, Madrid, Spain
You can say many bad things about Amsterdam’s city marketing campaign I AmSterdam, but at least in some respect it works. A mix of the phrase “I am Amsterdam” and “I heart Amsterdam,” the slogan lets people express their positive feelings towards the city in a tacky but unified manner.
Madrid tries to copy the formula, and copies everything that is wrong about the I AmSterdam campaign. It is tacky. You cannot force a meaningful emotional response with a cold marketing campaign. The formula replaces core values—the reasons why people like Amsterdam or Madrid—with empty slogans. And in doing so, the campaigns are insulting to their audiences’ intelligence.
But Madrid’s copy takes things one step further: it just doesn’t work. “Madrid about you” is a funny pun, but the way the logo is styled makes it say: “Madrid equals mad” (the “about you” is de-emphazised by shoving it to the bottom and printing it in a smaller font.) Critical Spanish designer Rafa Celda says in El Pais that the people who came up with this campaign are trying too hard. “This is like one of those logos that comes with a manual.”
Via Nieuws uit Amsterdam (Dutch). Photo by Matt Rubens, distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license.
Tags: Amsterdam, cities, logos, Madrid, marketing, slogans