Visit on a Sunday afternoon for free entry!
Dedicated to the Queen of Spain, the Reina Sofía sits at the southern end of Madrid's so-called Golden Triangle of Art, which also comprises the Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Its vast and impeccably curated collection of 21,000 artworks is dedicated to the art of the 20th century, with a strong focus on Spanish artists including excellent groups of work by Dalí and Picasso, the country's two greatest modern masters (there's a substantial helping of Miró as well).
Since 1992 the museum has been home to Guernica, perhaps Picasso's most acclaimed masterpiece, which beforehand held a residence at the Prado's Casón del Buen Retiro; a controversial move, as the artist's will stated that he wanted the work to be displayed at the Prado. This moving work is a powerful protest against the horrors of war, prompted by the brutal Nationalist firebombing of the village of Guernica in 1937.
The museum's central building is the old General Hospital of Madrid, which was closed down in 1969. Extensive renovations have since greatly expanded the building, with three striking glass circulation towers added in 1989 before the museum was inaugurated officially in 1992; a recent €92 million expansion was completed in 2005.
While there are few non-Spaniards represented, the museum nonetheless holds a range of important works by Man Ray, Donald Judd, Robert Delaunay, Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon and more. Excellent temporary exhibitions are held amidst the permanent exhibits, and also in the museum's outpost the Palacio de Cristal.
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