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And the prize for the world’s best art goes to…. Madrid!
No surprises there then. As the city that boasts the ‘Triangle of Art’, an area around the elegant Paseo del Prado boulevard that’s home to the world-famous Prado, Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, Madrid has more art than you could shake an easel at.
We’ve kept this quick-fire art gallery guide sharp and to-the-point, because you know, who’s got time for words when there’s world-class art to be admired?
1. The Prado/ Museo del Prado
In brief: The largest art gallery in the world.
What’s HOT? Where to start? Imagine this: 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings (give or take a few). Paintings dating back to the 12th century, paintings from the Renaissance, Old Masters’ paintings and artworks that scale the walls with so much stature, you’ll strain your neck just to see half.
Show-stopping feature: The royal paintings of Velázquez and The Black Paintings of Goya. We know that’s two features, but this IS Spain’s premier art gallery.
Splurge or steal? €14.00 per person, or free if you’re under 18 (you’ll have to prove it).
Take me there! Entrance to the Prado is via the eastern Puerta de los Jerónimos.
HOT tip: Visit after 6pm and entry is free. Be aware this only allows a few hours for viewing, whereas on average, most people spend over four.
2. Reina Sofia/Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
In brief: Spain's national museum of 20th-century art.
What’s HOT? Oh you know, the paintings crafted by two of the 20th century’s greatest masters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali (this is an art gallery that can seriously name drop). It’s not all about the Spanish geniuses, there are exhibits featuring both national and international artists, but for a country fit-to-bursting with creative talent, you’ll want to soak up the spectacular works of Joan Miró, Julio González, Pablo Gargallo and more.
Show-stopping feature: Hands down, Picasso's painting, Guernica.
Splurge or steal? General admission is €8.00 and an additional €4.00 for temporary exhibitions.
Take me there! The gallery is easily accessed via the Atocha train and metro stations, with the metro stop right outside.
HOT tip: Enjoy free entry from 7pm – 9pm every evening except Tuesdays (and on Sundays it's only until 7 pm).
3. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
In brief: Over 500 years of outstanding pieces of art housed in a Neo-Classical mansion built in 1806.
What’s HOT? The sheer variety of art here is formidable. Styles that carry from medieval times right through to 20th century pop-art, with masterpieces from a huge cross-section of artists, including Picasso, Matisse, El Greco and Gauguin. Even those with limited art knowledge will recognise the names housed in the Thyssen-Bornemisza. If you’re after a quick-fire introduction to the evolution of European art, this is the place to get started.
Show-stopping feature: Big names abound, most of which can be observed on the first floor.
Splurge or steal? Admission is €10.00. Free on Mondays but expect large crowds.
Take me there! Jump on the metro Line 2, Banco de España Station or catch the train to Atocha Station. The museum is located opposite The Prado.
HOT tip: Paintings aside, the museum’s architecture and surrounding gardens are stunning. Head to the café-restaurant for refreshments complemented by garden views.
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