When I first visited the Prado I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by emotions. As I entered the grand hall dedicated to Vélazquez I felt tears welling up in my eyes. Moments later, when I wandered into the Goya exhibits, I experienced a similar rush of excitement and admiration. To finally come face to face with these paintings, which I only knew from reproductions, was a dream come true.

If I have to name a favorite painting it would probably be "Las Meninas". Much has been written about it and I have little if anything to add in terms of analysis. It is much bigger than I expected though. Indeed, all of the paintings in the Vélazquez room were bigger than I thought.

Years have passed and the other week I had a chance to visit the Prado a second time. Again I found myself on the verge of tears when I saw "Las Meninas" and the other paintings by Vélazquez. And no, there was nothing wrong with my eyes.

Of course, this has much to do with the aura of the original. I doubt I would be equally moved when faced with a life-size reproduction of "Las Meninas".

Twenty-five years from now, if I get another chance to revisit the Prado Museum and gaze upon those magnificent masterpieces, I might find myself overcome with emotion yet again – not just due to their beauty but also because of the realization that it could very well be the final time I ever set foot inside the Prado.

Diego Vélazquez, Las Meninas (1656)