The Reina Sofia Museum – Dedicated to Modern Spanish Art:
The Prado Museum is undoubtedly the main attraction for art-loving visitors to Madrid. But for those who appreciate modern art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia – Museo Reina Sofia in short – should not be missed.
Established in 1991 and named after Queen Sofia of Spain, The Reina Sofia is a relatively young museum which is mainly dedicated to Spanish modern art. It contains hundreds of works by dozens of artists, including the famed Guernica by Picasso. As a result it is now ranked among the most important collections in modern art in Europe.
Although The Reina Sofia is a museum dedicated to modern art, the collection is housed in a building designed in the 18th century. The building was originally scheduled for demolition, but it was declared a historic monument in 1977 and eventually was re-purposed to its present use.
Art at The Reina Sofia
Located at Calle Santa Isabel 52, near the Atocha roundabout not far from the Prado, the Reina Sofia is just the ticket for fans of Picasso, Miro, Solana and other notable Spanish artists. The theme of traditional combined with modern continues in the famous transparent elevators. From the elevators you get an excellent view of Madrid on your way to the paintings.
Off the elevator banks there are several interesting Solana pieces, among them The Circle of the Cafe Pombo, The Chorus Girls and The Meeting of the Pharmacy. All are works of the 1920s and 30s, but the collection of the Reina Sofia covers a range from the late 19th century to the most contemporary works.
Masters at The Reina Sofia
Miro is well represented with works such as Man With A Pipe, Escargot, Femme, Fleur, Toile and Femme et Oiseau Dans La Nuit (Woman and Bird in the Night). Painted in Barcelona these works from the 1920s and 30s of the artist continue to attract large crowds of visitors.
There are a number of Dali works in the museum. The style runs the gamut from the 1927 Still Life By the Light of the Moon, to the naturalistic portrait Galarina of 1945, to the Crucifixion paintings of 1951 and 1955 in which surrealism is suppressed in favour of a stylized realism.
There are also several Picasso works, some of which will surprise all but the most knowledgeable devotees of the Spanish painter. The First Communion from 1896, for example, shows the young artist painting very much in the academic style of the 19th century. Even the Woman In Blue of 1901 still shows much of this influence.
By the time you come upon the Las Señoritas de Avignon of 1907, the Cubist style for which Picasso is most well known is prominently on display. The famed Guernica, painted in 1937 is yet another evolution of this ever-changing artist. Taking its inspiration from the Nazi bombing of the town of the same name, it shows the mature Picasso’s slant on surrealism in an unmistakable way.
Besides the exquisite paintings, there are porcelain, pottery, glass and a great many other objets d’art housed in the over 39,000 sq metres (46,000 square yards) of exhibit space. There’s also a public library and a cafeteria.
Museo Reina Sofia
52 Calle Santa Isabel
Map of Madrid: