As you know, I've been in Madrid - and I spent much of the time in the art galleries. Some of the world's most precious paintings were there - so I spent hours gazing at some magnificent pieces.
I shared much of the space with other tourists, of course. And with children.
I've been to the National Gallery and watched families try to introduce children to paintings. Some looked obediently; a minority actually stared for a couple of minutes and then needed a wee. I recall taking my own children - we didn't last long. Within minutes one was hungry, another hit her sister, while a fourth asked loudly why that lady has no clothes on ... it was my idea of dreadful and I rarely tried again.
But here, in Madrid, I saw groups of schoolchildren and they were enthralled. Even little ones - they can't have been much more than four - were sitting and listening as a curator talked about the picture and asked what they could see, and then helped them to look again and look again until every brush-stroke had been thought about. And then they were off to another painting.
I suspect that the tinies only looked at three or four pictures, and the more difficult pieces were left for older children. But even adolescents (except for a couple of lads who wanted only to gawp at the nudes) were engrossed - and able to engage with pieces that I found difficult to look at or understand. Having been taken to art galleries since they were small they understood the discipline needed to look, and think, and notice what an artist was trying to achieve and how he or she did it.
And so I have thought again. Maybe my failure to engage my children with art was due to my own incompetence at talking about the pictures and helping them to look closely at them. I can no longer blame their immaturity.
Shall I try again, with grandchildren? And you - do you take children to art galleries?