Reina Sofia Museum. The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, dedicated to contemporary art is one of the most important museums in Madrid.
The Reina Sofia Museum, whose official name is Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Queen Sofia National Center of Art Museum), is a national museum dedicated to contemporary art. The headquarters are located in Madrid, Spain, near the famous Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums, in an area known as Madrid's Golden Art Triangle.
The Reina Sofia Museum is located in what once was the General Hospital, one of the older neoclassic buildings in the Atocha neighborhood in Madrid. The building was originally designed by José de Hermosilla and later continued by famous architect Francesco de Sabatini. In the 1980s, the building was remodeled in order to house all the art collections that it now possesses. It was inaugurated on the 26th of May in 1986 as the Reina Sofia Art Center and on May 27, 1988 it officially became a national museum.
The idea behind the Reina Sofia Museum was originally as an expansion to the Prado Museum in order to cover art history from the end of the 19th century through to the present time. This time period was not covered by the Prado Museum, which was dedicated to classical Spanish painting. In 1995 it was decided by Royal decree that the Reina Sofia would house art collections from 1881 (the year of Picasso´s birth) onwards. However, later earlier painters such as Goya were incorporated to Reina Sofia's collection.
Among the Reina Sofia's masterpieces are the art collections of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. However, the crowned jewel of the museum is, without doubt, the Guernica painting by Pablo Picasso. The museum also displays original Picasso sketches of his plans for the Guernica masterpiece. These sketches were returned to Spain by the MOMA Museum in New York in 1981. Various painters had left their work there to safeguard it on the condition that it would be returned to Spain once democracy had returned to the country.
The Reina Sofia also houses other famous Picasso paintings such as Mujer en Azul (Woman in Blue), Pintor y la Modelo (Painter and the Model) and Mujer en el Jardín (Woman in the Garden).
From Salvador Dali the Reina Sofia also has many great works such as El Gran Masturbador (The Great Masturbator). However, the Dali collection is divided between the Reina Sofia Museum and the Theatre-Museum Dali, located in the painter's home town of Figueres. The collection was left to the Spanish state by Salvador Dali himself.
In regards to foreign painters, the Reina Sofia Art Center also boasts a number of pieces from painters like Georges Braque, Albert Gleizes, René Magritte, Francis Bacon or Max Ernst. Other examples of pop art include Luis Gordillo, Ouka Leele and Eduardo Arroyo.
The Reina Sofia Museum is also home to an impressive library dedicated to art. The entrance is free of charge and there one can browse over more than 100,000 books, 3,500 recordings and 1,000 videos, all dedicated to art.
Visiting hours are from 10am to 9pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 10am through 2:30pm on Sundays and on Tuesdays the museum remains closed.