By Ross Sanderson • 13 September 2023 • 15:15
GUERNICA by Pablo Picasso
Photo credit: Rokantyfaszystowski
Without a doubt, Madrid is a city of culture. From the worlds of sport, cuisine, fashion and invention, the Spanish capital has it all. One aspect that tends to stand out, however, is the city’s long history of beautiful artwork. With over 90 different galleries and museums dedicated to art, Madrid houses paintings and sculptures created by some of the greatest artists to have ever lived. The Reina Sofia National Centre of Art, in the middle of Madrid, is one of the best places in Europe to see some of the biggest names. Here is a selection of what is on offer:
When it comes to Spanish artists, or any artist for that matter, there are very few that are as well-known and respected as the Malaga-born painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso. At Reina Sofia, not only will you find some of his early work, that is said to have helped first develop cubism, but debatably his most famous painting Guernica.
This anti-war oil painting was done in 1937 and depicts the bombing of Guernica, a northern Spanish Basque town. Once finished, the painting was used to raise money for Spanish war relief and as a protest against violence. Standing at 15 feet tall and 26 feet wide, a whole room of the Reina Sofia Museum is dedicated to this piece, which is estimated to be worth over 200 million dollars today.
Another one of Spain’s biggest artists of all time, Salvador Dali, is also heavily represented in the Madrid gallery. A lot of his work on show is from 1918 to 1925 when the Catalonian was just a teenager. The great thing about the Dali collection at Reina Sofia is the wide range of painting styles that can be seen.
It is clear to see the path of progression that he went on from the darker tones and softer brush strokes that he used in his early days, to the more vibrant and powerful pieces that most would recognise today. Some of his best-known work is in Madrid, such as ‘The Invisible Man,’ ‘Endless Enigma’ and ‘The Enigma of Hitler.’
Not only paintings, but sculptures too, are a big feature of the Reina Sofia gallery and Spanish abstract sculptor Pablo Serrano is one of the very best. With most of his best work coming in the 1950s and 60s, Serrano won multiple artistic awards in his time and now has cultures featured in museums in New York, Rome, Venice and Moscow among others.
After his death in 1985, Serrano donated over 400 of his pieces to the cities of Spain. ‘Young Man In The Sun,’ ‘Unknown Political Prisoner’ and ‘Interactivity Film’ can all be found in Madrid.
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Based in Edinburgh, Ross is an NCTJ-qualified journalist. Having previously lived in Madrid, he specialises in Spanish Culture, Sport and Cuisine.
Thank you, Ross, this is a well written article, but I’m left asking:- “How can I see these works of art?”?!?!? I’d love to know!
Thank you very much, I really appreciate it!
All of the paintings and sculptures mentioned can be found at the Reina Sofia Museum in the centre of Madrid – very close to Atocha train station.
Opening times and ticket price information is all here – https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/visit/opening-hours-and-ticket-prices
If you go after 7pm on certain days it is free!
I hope that helps! 🙂
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