The Art Museums of Madrid

By Max

I never thought I would be the one writing a blog post about art museums, but here I am thinking about how much I enjoyed my museum experiences in Madrid.  Truth be told, I still can get bored and have to fight off urges to touch the art, but as I worked my way through the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Reina Sofia, and the Museo del Prado, I found myself appreciating not only the individual works of art, but also how they so clearly intersect with religion, politics, and history.  I wasn’t just pretending in front of my kids, I was really viewing and reflecting with only brief mind wanderings to the upcoming NBA draft, the Yankee’s rotation, or my next meal.

There is something about being in a country, or a whole continent for that matter, with such a long tradition of art, religion, politics, and history that makes it hard to not to immerse yourself in these endeavors.  Plus, the fact that these great museums are easy to access for free or affordable prices does not hurt!

We started our museum visits at the Thyssen.  Formerly a private collection, the Thyssen provides a great survey of European and North American art from the 13th century to 20th century pop art (http://www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/coleccion).  Here we were able to move from early Italian art with its dark and somber depictions of the Holy Family on through to the Renaissance, Impressionism, Surrealism, and the wildly colorful work of Roy Lichtenstein.

El Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza.

El Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza.

 

Noah posing with an Andrea della Robbia.

Noah posing with an Andrea della Robbia.

A few days later, Sue and I took advantage of the free evening hours at the Reina Sofia.  Known as one of the top modern art museums in Europe, the Reina Sofia is the place to take in your fill of Spanish artists including Picasso and Dali.  The featured piece here is Picasso’s Guernica.  Covering much of a large wall, this mural depicts Picasso’s response to the Spanish Civil War.  While Guernica is cleary the focal point of the museum, each of its three collections (http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection) calls out the tension between industrial progress, war, and political and civil unrest.  Lots of brain power required to make sense of it all.

 

Entrance to the Reina Sofia.

Entrance to the Reina Sofia.

Picasso's Guernica.

Picasso’s Guernica.

 

Lastly, we descended upon the Prado, a seemingly never ending collection of pre-20th century European art.  To say we were overwhelmed here is an understatement.  Room after room of works by famous artists such as Rubens, de Goya, El Greco, Titian, Caravaggio, and many others began to blur into each other after the first hour.  Oddly enough, one of the highlights of this visit was a special exhibit of 10 Picassos on loan from the Kunstmuseum Basel in Switzerland; the only works on display from the 20th century. (https://www.museodelprado.es/en/exhibitions/exhibitions/at-the-museum/diez-picassos-del-kunstmuseum-de-basilea/).

 

Museo Nacional del Prado.

Museo Nacional del Prado.

Woman with Hat Seated in an Armchair - Picasso.

Woman with Hat Seated in an Armchair – Picasso.

 

While I had some museum fatigue set in by the time we finished the Prado, I left Madrid a slightly more aware viewer and eager for our next art museum – the Uffizi in Florence – stay tuned!

6 Comments

  1. While museums in New York can be fun and exciting to visit the museums in another country must add another level of excitement. Thanks for this post and sharing the links.

    • silverwilkes

      July 13, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Hey Leah,
      Thanks for being our #1 blog fan. We all wish you were here sharing the fun with us! Can’t wait to see you and everybody else in August!

  2. Hello, my friends! After moving from Fremont to our new home in Magnolia, I finally had time to catch up on your posts. I was not disappointed, of course, and loved reading about your adventures in Spain. The art, the beach, the hiking and biking…oh, my! Your lives are so very sweet! They’re golden, in fact. I’m hoping you’re okay with coming back because I so look forward to catching up in person.

    • silverwilkes

      July 10, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Good to hear from again, Joan! We love your comments. Hope you are settled in to your new home and enjoying life in the suburbs of Magnolia! We can’t wait to see you and Randall when we get back. Love – all of us

  3. Max, I always knew you were an art lover.

    Loving keeping up with your families’ travels. I know more about your life now than I did when you lived in Seattle 🙂

    Love to all.

    • silverwilkes

      July 10, 2015 at 8:52 am

      Hey James –
      All this European art can’t hold a candle to Down n’ Out Dawg and your other great works! Can’t wait to sit around, sipping apertifs and discussing the emergence of naturalism in later Renaissance paintings. Love – Max

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