Madrid Museum Hierarchy



This week, I paid my second visit to the admired Reina Sofia museum of modern art, which I did not like this time either. My Spanish Literature teacher took us there and showed us around, talking about some of the famous paintings, such as Picasso’s Guernica. I think modern art just isn’t my thing, because I don’t appreciate it all that much. That said, I have decided to cast my votes in the museum hierarchy arguments. You see, in Madrid – there are the Big 3 (the Reina Sofia, the Prado, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza). These are the main museums, all other are secondary to these giants. I have now visited all 3, so I feel qualified to weigh in. My rankings:

1) The Prado – this giant of a museum is great to visit – as long as you don’t go between 6 & 8pm, when it is free to the public. If you go then, it is a madhouse, and you can’t really enjoy any of the art. But, perks of being a college student, I can get in for free any time.  I have only covered about half of the museum so far after 2 visits, it is gigantic! I really like the museum organization and display, though. Hundreds of famous artist’s works are on display and as you move from room to room, there is always something new to marvel at.

2) Thyssen- Bornemisza – this museum is the easiest to navigate and understand out of the 3. I was able to see the majority of the museum within about 3 hours. It is chronologically arranged and provides a great taste of a little bit of everything. You start by admiring the religious works of the 14th century, move on to court portraits, impressionist and post impressionist paintings including Monet, and finish with some fairly recent pieces of art. I really liked being able to get a little taste of a variety of types of arts, but I don’t think the Thyssen can compare to the Prado in terms of famous pieces of art.

3) Reina Sofia – go only if you like modern art and can understand it. Otherwise, stay away.

Other Museums worth Mentioning:

While in Madrid, I have also enjoyed visiting the Museo de Traje (costume museum), the Museo Sorolla (famous beach & ocean scenes), and the Museo de Bellas Artes (museum of decorative arts). I would definitely recommend these museums to anyone who wants to branch out from the Big 3 while in Madrid. Next week, I have a reservation to see the Casa Museo de Lope de Vega, the old house of famous author Lope de Vega, which is supposed to be a real treat. I’ll be analyzing to see if it makes it onto my list of museums worth mentioning. Until then, I will enjoy watching chunks of ice fall from the sky outside my window (it is hailing today – in the middle of April!) and get organized because my friend Alex is going to be arriving in Madrid on Monday! At least I got a tiny taste of New Orleans when we celebrated Olivia’s 21st birthday at a New Orleans Cuisine restaurant, but I really could go for some 80 degree weather right about now…

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