Reina Sofia
Spanish Modern Art Museum Madrid: History, Collection Highlights, Contact Details.


Reina Sofia Art Museum


The Permanent Collection
Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali
Post-1945 Paintings
Contact Details

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The Reina Sofia National Art museum (MNCARS), often shortened to the Reina Sofia, is Spain's national museum of modern art. It was established in 1992 and is located in the so-called Golden Triangle of Art in Madrid, next to the Paseo del Prado which comprises the Prado Museum and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. One of the best art museums in Europe, the Reina Sofia is primarily dedicated to Spanish painting, and houses an excellent collection by modern Spanish Masters like Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Joan Miro (1893-1983) and Surrealist Salvador Dali (1904-89). Perhaps it’s most famous work is Picasso’s huge painting Guernica (1937) measuring 11 feet tall by nearly 26 feet wide. The museum is constantly expanding its collection while regularly organizing temporary exhibitions alongside its permanent collection. The building itself was formerly an 18th century city hospital. Additions were added over the years but it received a radical facelift in 2005 with the addition of 3 glass circular towers designed by architect Jean Nouvel and some extra exhibition space. The museum also has a public library which contains over 100,000 books, 1,000 videos and 3,500 sound recordings.

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The Collection

The museum aims to promote modern artists from the 19th century onwards. It does this through a series of regular exhibitions, shows, conferences, performances and concerts. It acts as a time-continuation from its neighbour, the Prado which features world and European art from the 12th to the early 19th century, with notable holdings of Spanish Baroque art. As well as modern paintings and works by 19th century sculptors, the Reina's permanent collection also includes collages, sketches, photographs and films. The revolutionary developments which occurred in art between end of the 19th century and the early 20th century are represented by works from Spanish artists like Fauvist Anglada Camarasa (1871–1959), portraitist Ramon Casas (1866-1932), Jose Gutierrez Solana (1886-1945), Dario Regoyos (1857-1913), Catalan naturalist painter Santiago Rusinol (1861-1931), Isidro Nonell (1873-1911), popular seascape and landscape artist Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida (1863–1923), Maria Blanchard (1881-1932) and Ignacio Zuloaga (1870–1945). Avant garde Spanish artists such as cubist Juan Gris (1887–1927) and painter/sculptor Pablo Gargallo (1881–1934) are displayed along side their European contemporaries such as Cubism co-founder Georges Braque (1882–1963), as well as Albert Gleizes (1881-1953), Fernand Leger (1881-1951) and Cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973). Other European artists displayed include Italian sculptor Medardo Rosso (1858-1928), Orphism art movement co-founders Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) and Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979), Dada and Surrealist Francis Picabia (1879-1953) and Uruguayan plastic artist Joaquin Torres Garcia (1874-1949). A collection of ballet costumes designed by the legendary Bauhaus School of Art teacher and sculptor Oskar Shlemmer (1888-1943) in 1922 for the Triadic ballet are also on display.



Picasso, Miro and Dali

These three most influential Spanish artists of the 20th century form the backbone of the permanent collection. Painter, sculptor and ceramist, Picasso is perhaps the biggest tourist attraction of all. His painting Guernica was first exhibited in the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 World Fair in Paris during the Spanish Civil War. It is considered a fundamental work of 20th Century art, and a universal symbol of the fight against oppression. Joan Miro, who famously stated 'I want to murder painting', was part of the avant-garde who wanted to contaminate painting with junk-art elements such as industrial waste, recently born out of a new mass culture. Good examples of his work in the collection include Portrait II (1938); Dog Barking at the Moon (1926, Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art); and Woman, Bird and Star (1970). Salvador Dali, a skilled draftsman, is best known for his bizarre surrealist paintings, including The Great Masturbator (1929) which was painted 2 years before The Persistence of Memory (1931, MOMA, New York).

Post-Civil War Paintings

Like its hypermodern sister the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, the Reina Sofia also features a wide collection of contemporary art. The Spanish Civil war put an end to what was known as the Silver age in Spanish art. After the War, themes of death and religion gave rise to new artistic groups like Equipo 57 and El Paso. 20th Century painters and other artists from this period represented in the permanent collection include: Antoni Tapies (b.1923), Basque sculptor, designer and painter Jorge Oteiza (1908-2003) and the Spanish-born artist Esteban Vicente (1903-2001). In the 1960s many Spanish artists returned to figurative art and this is reflected in the works of several 20th Century sculptors like Juan Munoz (1953-2001), who worked primarily in paper mache, bronze and resin; realist Antonio Lopez (b.1936) and painter and graphic artist Eduardo Arroyo (b.1937). National themes are placed in a European context as the museum also displays works from artists such as Jean Dubuffet (1901-85), Max Ernst (1891-76), Francis Bacon (1909-92), abstract sculptor Henry Moore (1898-1986), Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) and leading member of the French art movement New Realism Yves Klein (1928-62). There are also a few international artists represented such as abstract expressionist Clyfford Still (1904-80), Richard Serra (b.1939) and photographer Man Ray (1890-1976).

Contact Details

Reina Sofia Art Museum
Santa Isabel, 52
28012 Madrid

+34 91 774 1000



Opening Times

Monday to Saturday: 10am to 9pm
Sunday: 10am to 2.30pm
Tuesdays: closed

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