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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Casa del Prado - the Missing Balboa Park Post

This post is about my trip to San Diego in 2018-
Catching up at last!

When I visited San Diego in 2018 one of the things I did was go stroll through Balboa Park which was home to the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The Exhibition introduced Spanish Colonial Revival architecture to Southern California and to millions of visitors. The buildings were meant to be temporary, but San Diegans did not want to let them go and through a mix of public funds and private fundraising they have reconstructed some of the buildings and the arcades, filling them with museums, performing arts venues and lovely gardens.

photo credit: Chris Jennewein - from Times San Diego article

I already posted about Balboa Park previously, but somehow neglected to include a post about The Casa del Prado which was the first replacement of an Exposition building and was completed in 1971.  The ornamentation on the exterior of the building was completed with the aid of private donations.

Somehow I forgot to get a photo of the exterior of the building, but here is what I found when I went inside. The original Exposition building stood for 50 years and was used for a variety of purposes after the Exposition including temporary barracks, post office, hospital ward and Red Cross during World Wars One and Two for the US. Navy.  It was even home to the Public Library while they constructed a new one for two years in the 1950's.

I was delighted to discover a sculpture display in its shady walkways around the open courtyard. The Conquistador vignette replica above was a pendant beneath a sculptural group on the Varied Industries building.

 original building image from sign 

While the Conquistador was a replica, the Indian head below was an original, showing the softness of time. 

Plaster models designed in 1924 of famous 17th century Spanish painters Velazquez, Murillo and Zurbaran were used to cast sculptures above what is now the San Diego Museum of Art.

And Seraphim, the highest order of angels, were resting in a peaceful corner with a view of the gardens.

There were more, but it would spoil your adventure to see them if I showed them all!

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