Journey by means of modern art through the key political and social moments of recent times.
The Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid's most well-known modern art space, is an inspiring and informative place to visit and an essential attraction for all aficionados of contemporary art. The permanent collection ranges from works of the late 19th century to the freshest and newest forms of expression around. There’s a definite focus on the home-grown scene but the Spanish pieces are bolstered by a healthy proportion of pickings from the international art world.
If you want to begin at the beginning, your first port of call will be the collection entitled “Irruption of the 20th Century” which showcases works created between 1900 and 1945. Here you'll encounter the likes of Juan Gris, Georges Braque, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí while you follow the path that thrust art into modernism through an age of political, social and moral upheaval. The icing on this particular cake is Pablo Picasso's masterpiece, "Guernica".
The next section, “Is the War Over? Art in a Divided World” will lead you through Abstraction and Existentialism in the context of the ideological split that divided Europe after the war. The work of artists such as Jorge Oteiza and Jean Dubuffet are displayed as reminders of the social changes taking place in an era when consumerist culture began to grow and grow.
Finally, “From Revolt to Postmodernity” brings us up to date with today’s art world, exploring contemporary issues such as gender politics, globalisation and the nature of art. There is an emphasis on Spanish figures such as Luis Gordillo and the Zaj Group; also well represented are South-American artists and their response to the issues facing their own continent.
Special exhibitions are held in the museum regularly so it's well worth checking the website to see what's on. The Reina Sofía also accommodates a very comprehensive library which is open to the public.
If you’re travelling by public transport, take the metro to Atocha station. The museum is on Calle de Santa Isabel, and is closed on Tuesdays and public holidays but should otherwise be open. Admission fees apply.