The art and culture scene of Madrid is a brilliant one, and it is one of my favorites on this side of the pond. If your interests also lie in art, then you understand the appreciation one feels to take in a region’s art scene through a variety of mediums. The city of Madrid is home to priceless collections of Spanish and global masterpieces, which are housed inside three remarkable museums, also known as the “Museum Trinity”.
The three museums that make up Madrid’s exceptional Museum Trinity are – Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Prado National Museum, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
There is also a fourth museum in Madrid that I recommend, Museo Sollora, which is the personal home of artist Joaquín Sorolla, and showcases many of his beloved works.
The museums of Madrid are all different from each other, from their locations to their collections. Depending on how much time you have in Madrid and where your interests lie, that will influence which museums you choose to see. If you have the time, then do all of them- why choose?
“Give me a museum, and I’ll fill it” – Pablo Picasso
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
The collection of brilliant masterpieces inside the Thyssen bridges the gap for the Pardo museum, and contains more than 800 works form the 13th-century through the 20th-century. The accumulation of artwork was originally amassed as a private collection by Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza of Switzerland, and was acquired by the Spanish Government in 1993.
The museum’s eclectic collection was impressive with masters such as El Greco, Goya, Rembrandt, Kandinsky, Velaquez, and many other masters. As an American, I was gratified to see a few great artists from my own country such as Jackson Pollock and Roy Lichtensein. I spent several blissful hours inside the Thyssen admiring everything it had to offer.
Prior to my visit, I purchased my ticket online which was very helpful. I skipped the queue, which gave me immediate entry into the museum. I strongly suggest that you do the same to save on time, especially during high travel season. For ticketing and visitor information – Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
Museo Nacional del Prado
The popular Prado Museum is the primary Spanish national art museum, and is located along Paseo del Prado. This historic boulevard most recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021, and is located in the heart of Madrid.
The Prado is well known to contain one of the world’s greatest collections of European art, spanning from the 12th century to the early 20th century, which is based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. It also boasts the single best Spanish art collection in the world.
Prior to my visit, I purchased my ticket online which was very helpful. I skipped the queue which gave me immediate entry into the museum. I strongly suggest that you do the same to save on time, especially during high travel season. For ticketing and visitor information – Museo del Prado
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
I enjoyed the Sofia very much, and wished that I had more time to wander through each room that was filled with Spanish masterpieces. This museum is primarily dedicated to Spanish art and contains extraordinary collections of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, two of Spain’s greatest 20th-century masters.
The Sofia is also home to Picasso’s most famous ant-war painting, Guernica.
Besides the impressive art collection, the architecture of the building also stood out for me. I enjoyed walking through the long arched corridors, as I went from one part of the museum to the next. The Sofia is housed inside a grand building that was once the site of the first General Hospital of Madrid, which was built in the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1969 the hospital was closed down and major renovations started in 1980. By 1986, the former hospital opened as the the Centro del Arte, and then was established as the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in 1988.
Prior to my visit, I purchased my ticket online which was very helpful. I skipped the queue which gave me immediate entry into the museum. I strongly suggest that you do the same to save on time, especially during high travel season. For ticketing and visitor information – Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
Although not part of Madrid’s museum trinity, the Museo Sollora is one of the city’s exceptional art museum’s that showcases the work of Joaquin Sollara, one of Spain’s most famous artists. The museum also features work done by his family, including his daughter Elena who was a Spanish sculptor and painter.
The Museum Sorolla’s building was the artist’s original home, which was converted into a museum following the death of his widow. The main rooms are furnished in the same manner as when Sorolla lived there, and his studio’s walls are flooded with his artwork.
For ticketing and visitor information – Museo Sorolla
There is joy in the journey…
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