Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía


Method of Transportation: Bus to and from Segovia and Madrid, Metro to and from
                                          Príncipe Pío and Atocha Stations
Transportation Time: Approximately 2 hours (One Way)
     Monday, Wednesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
     Sunday 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
     Bus to and from Segovia and Madrid: $22.21/€16.10
     Metro to and from Príncipe Pío and Atocha Stations: $4.14/€3.00
     Entrance Fee: $10.96/€8.00
     Total Cost: $37.31/€27.10

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, or the Reina Sofía Center of Art National Museum, is a modern art museum located in Madrid. Within walking distance of the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Reina Sofía first opened in 1990 although the building has been standing since the sixteenth century[1]. King Felipe II founded the San Carlos Hospital, the current museum headquarters, and King Carlos III in the eighteenth century decided to found another hospital and expand the area[2]. Construction halted after his death in 1788, but several modifications and additions were made while the hospital was in use up until its closing in 1965[3]. In 1977 the building was declared a national monument for its historic and artistic value and restoration began in 1980, later followed by its opening as the Reina Sofía Art Center in 1986[4].

Artwork in the Entrance

Under the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Reina Sofía is home to its collections, temporary exhibits, audio visual activities, and educational programs. Officially created by Royal Decree 535/88 in 1988, the original collections were made up of works from the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art and held only temporary exhibitions[5]. Since its opening, the museum has increased by about 60% of its surface area, now at 84,048 square meters, and has had its permanent collection since 1992 with close to 20,000 artworks throughout the museum[6]. It boasts works from Picasso, Dali, and many other contemporary artists from the twentieth century and beyond. Similar to the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Reina Sofía has many interactive online resources. In both Spanish and English, the visitor can map out their visit beforehand and view the collections by room at http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection.

The Collections

Unique to the Reina Sofía, one of its most important and well-protected works is the Guernica by Pablo Picasso. Painted in 1937 for the World’s Fair in Paris, the Guernica is symbolic of the suffering during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930’s[7]. A very controversial anti-fascist piece, Picasso himself said that when the Guernica was finished “it goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it[8].” Although intended for the Spanish people, Picasso required that the painting be housed outside of Spain until Spain became democratic and had public liberties; it was housed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York until 1981, the centenary of Picasso’s birth[9]. Now located in the Reina Sofía, the Guernica is one of the most protected pieces of art in the museum. It has a separate exhibition hall with two guards, video surveillance, and motion detectors. Additionally, the Guernica has undergone computer-guided robot image and data collection to assess the materials and techniques Picasso used to create the Guernica[10]. Known as a masterpiece of the twentieth century, the Guernica is just one illustration of the many artworks of the Reina Sofía.

The Guernica

The Reina Sofía is important to preserving the cultural history of Spanish modern art. The building itself is important to the history of the area, along with its artworks. The Guernica is just one example of the museum’s importance. The Reina Sofía protects and maintains this history for its visitors and future generations.

Works Cited
  “History.” museoreinasofia.es. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2013. http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/museum/history. (accessed 6 April 2014).
“Guernica: Testimony of War.” pbs.org. PBS, 2014. http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/guernica_nav/main_guerfrm.html (accessed 7 April 2014).
“Journey to the inside of Guernica.” museoreinasofia.es. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2013. http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection/restoration/projects-investigation-development/jorney-inside-guernica (accessed 7 April 2014).

[1] “History,” museoreinasofia.es. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2013, http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/museum/history (accessed 6 April 2014).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] “Guernica: Testimony of War,” pbs.org. PBS, 2014, http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/guernica_nav/main_guerfrm.html (accessed 7 April 2014).
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] “Journey to the inside of Guernica,” museoreinasofia.es. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2013, http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection/restoration/projects-investigation-development/jorney-inside-guernica (accessed 7 April 2014). 

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