'The Gallery Dedicated To Lenticular Art And Photography'

Modern art gallery; the Reina Sofia

The first gallery on the list to focus on modern art from the 20th Century, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia was opened in Madrid in 1990. It is located close to the Museo del Prado and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza art galleries which cover the many movements and periods before modern art. The Reina Sofia was created in Madrid’s original general hospital, which was extensively renovated and expanded through the 1980s before opening to the public. A further expansion in 2005 added spaces for temporary exhibitions, auditoriums, offices, restaurants and a shop.

One of the world’s largest art museums dedicated to modern and contemporary art, it received round 4 million visitors per year before the pandemic, who came for the wonderful collection, in-depth temporary exhibitions, and a free-access art library. The location also includes an education area which delivers visits, encounters, activities, and projects for schools, community activities for the wider public, families, and the elderly, and an experimental meditation programme for adults.

Connections to education are visible in other areas of the gallery as well; a study centre provides a graduate and postgraduate study programme in partnership with several Spanish universities, including MAs in Art History and Visual Culture, and Arts Practice and Visual Culture. Research residencies are provided for researchers, artists, individuals, and collectives, looking into specific movements and time periods in art, how they were affected by the world around them, and how they affected it.

Exploring the art collection of the Museo Centro de Arte Reina

With almost 22,000 original artworks, the Reina Sofia has what is considered one of the best collections of art in Europe, modern or otherwise. Featuring a wide range of Spanish modern and contemporary artists much less seen in other galleries. Big name highlights of the museum include Dali’s The Great Masturbator and Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica. Picasso and Dali are both well represented throughout the collection, which also has major pieces by Joan Miró, Juan Gris, Eduardo Chillida and many more.

Beyond the collection of Spanish artists, there are plenty of artworks and art prints by outstanding international artists ranging from impressionism through to the current day. These include important pieces by Francis Bacon, Georges Braque, Max Ernst, Damien Hirst, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Yves Klein, René Magritte, Henry Moore, Mark Rothko, and Yves Tanguy.

There are typically several 6-12 month temporary exhibitions of artworks on at any time, which tend to look in-depth at the work of individual modern and contemporary artists, and once again, Spanish artists are often at the centre of programming. Activities such as workshops, film screenings and cinema programs are a regular feature, and the offering to the public is completed with the superb art library consisting of over 100,000 books, 3500 sound recordings, and 1000 videos.

A young but exceptional modern and contemporary art gallery

The Reina Sofia is a very young art museum, and so far it is yet to surpass it’s nearby neighbour, the Museo del Prado, in the wider public conciousness. It is quite little known, but as the home of so much excellent art, and the essential Guernica, it is nonetheless one of the ten most popular art galleries in the world, and particularly admired in the Asian art world.

The quality of it’s collection, programs, and visitor experience also elevate it to being considered one of the best modern art galleries anywhere, alongside names like the Tate Modern in London or Musée d’Orsay. It’s location close to the Museo del Prado, another of the best art galleries in the world, place Madrid as a superb city in which to take in the whole history of art.

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