If you’re lucky enough to be in Madrid this summer, then you’ll be positively spoilt for choice if art appreciation is something of a passion. Not only do you have an absolute wealth of wonders in the Prado Museum, not only do you have the delightful Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza with its Pissarro exhibition (running until 15th September), but completing the trio is the less-than-succinctly-named Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, located at the southern end of Madrid’s golden art triangle.
Housed in a former hospital, the Reina Sofía is dedicated to contemporary art from the 20th century to the present day by Spanish as well as international artists. With some 20,000 works on display, highlights of the museum include excellent collections of Spain’s two greatest 20th-century masters, Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso, and indeed the museum’s showpiece must undoubtedly be Picasso’s monumental Guernica. The museum also features works by Miró and Tàpies as well as by foreign artists including Braque, Bacon and Tanguy.
Over the summer months (until 2nd September), the Reina Sofia plays host to a rather fabulous retrospective exhibition devoted to Salvador Dalí, bringing together more than 200 works not only from its own prestigious collection but on loan from the Dalí Foundation in Figueres (well worth a visit in its own right if ever in Gerona or Barcelona) and the Dalí Museum in Florida, as well as the Centre Pompidou in Paris who hosted the exhibition prior to its move to Madrid.
Entitled All of the poetic suggestions and all of the plastic possibilities, the exhibition focuses primarily on his Surrealist period, with paintings, sculptures and drawings organised into 11, mostly chronological, sections, beginning with a selection of works from his early artistic origins in Madrid and moves through his mystical and nuclear phases, his set and stage designs for filmmakers including Hitchcock and Disney, and his fascination for science and technology at the end of his career.
An absolute must for anyone inspired or intrigued by this most compelling and charismatic artist, this fascinating retrospective seeks to present Dalí as a visionary thinker, writer and pioneer of performance art whose actions in the public sphere, whether deliberate or unintentional, made him an essential figure in the world of contemporary representation.
The Reina Sofía is open daily except Tuesdays from 10am until 9pm (until 7pm on Sundays and 11pm on Fridays). As you might expect, visitor numbers to this exhibition are high, with allocated 30-minute time slots for entrance (10€ for the permanent and temporary exhibitions, also available online).