Madrid is a relative newcomer to the short European city-break scene. Yet as a centre of art it is right up there with the best of Europe’s best. Some of the essential art galleries you must visit in Madrid are listed below.
The Prado Museum is one of the world’s greatest galleries with a higher concentration of masterpieces than any other. It is so full of treasures that it is only possible to display around 1,500 of its 9,000-piece collection at any one time. There are many Spanish masterpieces including Goya’s ‘Maja Naked’ and ‘The 3rd May Shootings and Velazquez’s ‘Las Meninas’ as well as many works from the Italian, Flemish and Dutch Schools.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza is one of the world’s most important art collections and attracts over 750,000 annual visitors. It displays works from just about every major figure in the history of western art installed in chronological order so that visitors can take a historical walking tour of European Painting from the 13th Century to modern times.
The collection dates back to the 1920s when Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza acquired Old Masters for his villa overlooking Lake Lugano in Switzerland. After he died in 1947, his son expanded the collection to include many modern masterpieces. In 1993 the Spanish government outbid the Getty Foundation to secure the collection for $350 million when its true value was estimated at over $1 billion.
The Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is is one of the best venues in Europe for major temporary exhibitions. Its centre piece is Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ which is undoubtedly the most famous painting of the 20th century. The rest of the permanent collection contains works by virtually every noted Spanish artist of this century including Dali and Miro, together with many others by non-Spanish artists.
Madrid Art Tours
If you’re interested in a pre-arranged private art tour whilst in Madrid you should consider the following:
Tour of the Prado Museum and Royal Palace: If you’d prefer a private tour of the Prado and the Royal Palace then this tour is ideal. It includes an English speaking chauffeur and official tour guide.
Walking Tour of the Prado and Reina Sofia Museums: This private walking tour of two of Madrid’s great galleries includes the services of an official English speaking guide who will show you around some of the main works in each gallery.