Madrid Art Museums

Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art: The Reina Sofia

Madrid is a lively city in the center Spain, famous for its nightlife, cultural offerings and its art. The city has 3 incredible art museums all within walking distance of each other in what’s known as the Golden Triangle of Art: the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Reina Sofia Museums.

El Reina Sofía (officially the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía) is Spain’s National Museum of Contemporary art. Officially inaugurated in 1992 by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía the museum is housed in an extensively remodeled building from the 18th century that served as a hospital until 1965.

The Collection

The focus of the museum’s collection is on 20th century art and specifically highlights Spanish art. The Reina Sofía houses an impressive selection of paintings by Spain’s most famous contemporary artists: Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

Salvador Dalí

Dalí is most famous for his surrealist works including melting clocks, stretched out images andSalvador DaliCredit: Roger Higgins fantastical creatures. The museum has some pre-surrealism works of Dalí including Figure at a Window a beautiful portrait of his sister.  There is also a large room dedicated to Surrealism which features several of Dalí’s later more famous works such as Endless Enigma and Rostro del GranMasturbador.

Pablo Picasso

Picasso is one of the most well-known painters in history and the Reina Sofía is home to a large collection of his works including what may be his most famous: Guernica.

Guernica in the Reina SofiaCredit: Tab59 on Flickr

Guernica is the star of the museum. There is an entire room dedicated to Picasso’s drafts and drawings made in preparation for painting this giant mural. All this prelude is a buildup to seeing the painting itself which is truly incredible and almost overwhelming in size. Guernica is a black and white painting depicting the air bombing of the town of Guernica in Basque Country, Spain by Germany during the Spanish Civil War. The painting has come to symbolize the atrocities of war, the suffering of innocent civilians and a reminder of the brutality of conflict.

The museum has many more works by Picasso including paintings, drawings and sculpture spread throughout several other rooms.

Other Famous Artists

The Reina Sofía is considered one of the best art museums in the world for its large collection of 20th and 21st century art. In addition to Picasso and Dalí there are works by Joan Miró, Man Ray, Francis Bacon, Juan Gris, Eduardo Chillida, Pablo Serano and many more.

About the Museum

The Reina Sofía is located close to the Atocha train and metro stations. It is within walking distance of several other tourist attractions in Madrid including Retiro park, Puerta del Sol, the PlazaReina Sofia Museum of ArtCredit: Osvaldo Gago Mayor, and the other two major art museums.

You can purchase tickets to visit the Reina Sofía or you can buy a Madrid Art Pass to save on visiting all three of the Golden Triangle art museums if you are interested in going to the Prado and the Thyssen as well.

An Interpretation of Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Guernica is on Display in the Reina Sofia of Madrid Spain