Las Meninas de Velázquez has been the setting chosen by the President of the Government, Pedro Sanchezto immortalize the family photo of the first Euro-Atlantic Summit in history, attended by all NATO and EU leaders.
The meeting was a personal initiative by Sánchez, who wanted to gather for the first time around a table the 30 allies, most of whom are also members of the EU, and the six countries of the bloc that are not currently part of the Alliance -Austria, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Sweden and Finland, although these last two will be soon.
With this, the president wants to make visible the unity and cooperation between the Alliance and the EU in the face of Russia’s challenge and the consequences of its invasion of Ukraine.
As a host with his wife, Begona Gomez, Sánchez has been in charge of receiving one by one all the Heads of State and Government together with their companions. All of them have been concentrating in the room, chatting among themselves and contemplating, some with visible interest, such as the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the paintings exhibited on its walls. Or the president of France Emmanuel Macron.
The last to arrive was the US president, Joe Biden, who instead of being accompanied by his wife, Jill Biden, has come with his two granddaughters. The American first lady, who arrived in Madrid on Sunday and has had a parallel agenda with meetings and visits with Queen Letizia in addition to participating in the visits this Wednesday and to La Granja (Segovia) and the Reina Sofía, has already left.
Then, all those present have witnessed a short concert by the kyiv Symphony Orchestra, which has performed two pieces by Ukrainian composers, the ‘Symphony no. 1’ in C major by Maksym Berezovsky (1745-1777) and ‘Melodie’ in C minor’ by Myroslav Skoryk (1938-2020).
After that, they have moved to the room in which Velázquez’s masterpiece is exhibited. Here, Sánchez explained to some of them the details of the work that portrays part of the family of King Felipe VI, with the Infanta Margarita as the main character, and in which the painter himself is also seen.
Several of those present, such as the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberghave been visibly impressed by the picture and even some, like the Prime Minister of Greece, Kiriakos MitsotakisThey have taken photos.
The leaders have posed posted on both sides of the Meninas for posterity, first by themselves and then with their companions, among whom Biden’s granddaughters have not been.
From that room, those present have divided into two groups to go to their respective dinners. The leaders of NATO and the EU have gone to the Cloister of the museum, where they will have dinner, while their companions will do so in the room of the Muses.
On the other hand, the Government has announced that both the Heads of State and Government as well as the ministers who have accompanied them on their visit to Madrid will be presented with coins minted by the National Currency and Stamp Factory – Royal House of la Moneda, on the occasion of the 275th anniversary of the birth of Francisco de Goya.
In the case of the leaders, they will receive a silver fifty with a fragment of the work “The Grape Harvest or The Autumn” and the painter’s self-portrait on the front. For their part, the ministers will have an ounce of silver, which will represent the painting “El Quitasol” and, on the other side, will show the sculptural work of Goya by Mariano Benlliure, located in front of the door with the name of the Spanish painter in the Prado Museum.
The companions will be given sets of glass that they have seen being made during their morning visit to the Royal Glass Factory of La Granja, in Segovia. The bottles will have the coat of arms of Spain engraved and the glasses will be carved by the masters of the Royal Factory.
José Andrés menu with nods to Ukraine
The person in charge of preparing the menu has been the chef José Andrés, whom both Sánchez and Biden have had the opportunity to greet warmly, who have hugged him and have briefly talked with him.
The dinner menu began with an appetizer of cod, orange and beetroot, followed by lobster gazpacho with summer vegetables flavored with basil and extra virgin olive oil of the Arbequina variety.
The main course was lamb shoulder cooked at low temperature with lemon purée and a dessert, called ‘Flavors of Madrid’, which combines anise from Chinchón, strawberry from Aranjuez, wafer and violet caramel.
The Asturian chef, resident in the United States, has been expressly invited by Sánchez in recognition of his work at the helm of the NGO World Central Kitchen, Princess of Asturias Award for Concord in 2021.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism