Jeremy Irons shows his most human face in Madrid. His powerful voice sounds like a Shakespearean theatre sifted with a lot of nicotine. Tall, thin, elegant, he retains all the magnetism of the performances for which he has accumulated the most important prizes in cinema and theatre.
In this latest performance, The Prado museum, a collection of wonders, a documentary directed by Valeria Parisi which premiered on December 9th in 200 Spanish theatres, guides the spectator through the history and every corner of the Prado Museum.
The journey begins with Jeremy Irons contemplating The Glory, Titian’s famous painting that moved Emperor Charles V. And from there the journey, which is neither chronological nor linear, takes the viewer on a journey through the scope of the Empire, the war against Napoleon, the loss of the colonies or the transfer of the paintings during the Civil War.
The actor talks about all of this while walking through Yuste, El Escorial, Toledo, Madrid and, of course, the most important areas of the Prado Museum, including the restoration workshop and the Kingdom Hall.
He celebrated the opportunity to visit Madrid again because he loves dancing, food, the streets and people, and he was very excited about the nights of filming in the rooms with the museum closed. “It has been a fascinating experience. The producers, who are Italian, had everything very well organized so that each intervention was done with only one shot. I let myself be directed.
When asked to choose between Velázquez, El Greco and Goya for his portrait, he thinks long and hard and finally replies that he would choose the young Goya. “Velázquez would paint a superficial portrait of me and El Greco would not get the better of me”, he says with a laugh,
“If he could, which painting would he take home? Extending his arms, Irons replies that there is no possible answer. “Maybe Las meninas or some Goya because I like them all. But you can’t choose just one”.
And to finish off, he gives some advice to the youngsters: watch the documentary, visit the museum and raise your heads from the screens of your mobile phones to contemplate what is around you, talk to each other and become better human beings.