If you're of an left-brained engineering mindset similar to me, you know art when you see it even though you might never have studied it or know much of anything about its disciplines or cultural influences. Having only seen the Schonbrunn in Vienna as an example of an European palace, I was immensely delighted by the Palacio Real. Yes, it is huge and has the enormous stone entry couryard devoid of all natural landscape. But the Palacio Real is somehow better scaled, more tasteful and with a consistenly lighter touch than its Viennese peer. The Schonbrunn was by comparison over the top and overwhelming while the Palacio Real was consistently a goregous visual delight that was none-the-less approachable and enobling. Whatever the actual personal beliefs and lifestyles of the Spanish monarchs, at least at the Palacio we see constant reminders of the Four Virtues that Spanish royalty should aspire to. There is also more hint of humility than the Schonbrunn in the expression of God above entrusting the monarchs to good government. There also was less pagan figures and myths incorporated in the artistic themes although mythical figures such as Hercules and Venus are still inspirations for artists of certain periods. Most of the rooms are "winners" where I could linger indefinitely and be inspired, and even conceive of myself living for an extended periods. There were few rooms that yielded the same emotions for me at the Schonbrunn.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.