Madrid is a passionate city and evokes passion with the vibe it emits. And, Madrid is passionate about art and culture. This is evident with the art museums, cultural events and experiences within the city. Visiting museums along the Paseo del Arte or Avenue of the Arts, a beautiful tree-lined boulevard, is one of the many things to do in Madrid. The culture in Madrid is rich in history and the arts. Madrid is home to 89 museums, including 3 of the best art galleries in the world. These 3 are also known as the Golden Triangle of Art: The Prado Museum, Reina Sofía National Museum Art Centre and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. All three of these museums are on a boulevard lined with fountains and gardens created in the 18th century and known as the Art Walk. Between these museums, over 4,000 works of arts by several famous European artists are displayed.
The Museo del Prado, established by Queen Maria Isabel in 1819 is the main Spanish national museum and is one of the most important and famous art museums in Europe, perhaps in the entire world. It features 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings plus a number of other artwork and historical documents. The museum has one of the finest collections of European masterpieces, dating from the 12th century to the 19th century and houses one of the best collections of Spanish art. This includes classics by Goya, El Greco and Velázquez.
The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum is in an 1806 neo-Classical mansion houses some of the world’s most important private art collections with over 1,600 paintings, presenting a superb overview of art history. It has a unique, diverse collection spanning centuries. Make time to see the works of Picasso, Dali, Chagall and Van Gogh. Most big name artists have at least one piece here. Also, this spring the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is showing a selection of more than 60 works from the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest (Szépművészeti Múzeum), which contains European paintings and sculptures by such great artists such as Albrecht Durer, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci.
Another special exhibit to see at the Thyssen-Bornemisza is that of the famous architect, Rafeal Moneo. See many of his famous drawings, models and photographs of 46 of his buildings including Logroño Town Hall, the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano in Mérida, the extension to Atocha station in Madrid, the Kursaal in San Sebastián, the Museum of Modern Art and Architecture in Stockholm, the cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, the laboratories at Columbia University, New York, and the extension to the Museo del Prado.
The Reina Sofía National Museum Art Centre, named for Queen Sofia, opened in 1990 as an extension to the Prado Museum comprised of Spanish art from the late 19th century to World War II. The collection also shows artistic trends from the 1940’s to the early 1980’s. Most of the great Spanish artists, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Salvador Dali have works here.
This museum is most famous for one of the greatest masterpieces by Picasso. Be sure to see it The Guernica. The Picasso painting was his reaction and political statement to the Nazi’s casual bombing on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. This year is the 80th anniversary of the first time the painting was shown and a special exhibit has been created. It showcases Picasso’s view of modern war with imagery of agony, perplexity and horror, exploring the connection he made between violence and sexuality. All of these previous works led up to the Guernica.
No doubt all of these museums are must see’s, especially this spring and summer with the special exhibits. Download the Essential Art Walk app via iTunes or Google Play. This app has all of the information you need on each museum and highlights 24 great masterpieces, eight in each museum. You can also purchase on Art Walk Pass with entry to all three museums via the app. You can download the Essential Art Walk Guide for more information as well.
When planning your trip to Madrid, contact the Madrid Convention Bureau for additional “must see” places, ideas, tour suggestions and much more.