Madrid’s Museums

It would be hard to find another city with more inaugurations and expansions of museums. Madrid’s 70 museums include three jewels:

Madrid's Museum | RentTheSun

Museo del Prado

Madrid’s most famous museum is the Prado. It opened in 1818 and contains the world’s best collection of Spanish painting of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries with works by Francisco de Goya, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, José Ribera, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán and others. The Prado is a museum where one can understand the influence of the painting of Spain’s Siglo de Oro (Golden Age, the 17th century) on the great European artists of the times such as Pieter Paul Rubens (influenced by Velázquez). Other Flemish artists on display are Hieronymus Bosch, Van Dyck, Van Eyck and Van der Weyden. Dutch art, which strove hard to distinguish itself from the Flemish style in the 16th century, is also represented with works of art, e.g. by Rembrandt. Metro: Banco de España

Museo Thyssen

The Prado however lacked representative masterworks of the 19th century. This void was filled with the arrival of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in 1992. Two years later, the Spanish government bought the collection from Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, who died in 2002. Previously on display in the Baron’s Villa Favorita in Lugano, Switzerland, the collection presents over 800 paintings, sculptures and tapestries form the Middle Ages to the present. The museum is located in the Villahermosa Palace, a noble palace built in the first half of the 19th century and situated at Paseo del Prado, not far from the Prado Museum. Metro: Banco de España

Museo Reina Sofía

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) also inaugurated its permanent collection in 1992. However, its activity as a center of temporary exhibitions began six years earlier. The Reina Sofía Art Centre, situated in the former Hospital General de San Carlos, is devoted to contemporary art. It holds of course an important collection of 20th century Spanish artists including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró (article in German), Juan Gris, Antoni Tàpies and others. Foreign artists are of course also represented. In the hall dedicated to Surrealism, you can find works by Dalí, Óscar Domínguez, Max Ernst (article in German), René Magritte and Man Ray. The museum’s most famous exhibit is Pablo Picasso’s anti-war painting Guernica, which formerly was on display at Casón del Buen Retiro. Metro: Atocha

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