The massive complex that comprises the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and its expansive collection is one in which the visitor can easily lose themselves in for an entire day. Commonly called El Reina Sofia, the museum's massive main building is comprised of four main floors ranging in content and exhibitions. The housed collection is predominantly dedicated to Spanish art produced within the early 20th century to the present, yet the museum offers a variety of exhibitions from both international and national artists.
This museum is not for the light of heart or for the easy-going art lover. El Reina Sofia 's collection is dense and comprised of artwork intended to be thought provoking and engaging. At the core of the museum's content is its mission to transform the traditional museum space into one that is integrated and fused with the public sphere and thus seeks to redefine society’s relation to the museum. With such a mission, El Reina Sofia seeks to host art which is supplementary to creating a space of shared wisdom that all can partake in as well as art that is supportive of generating interactions between various sectors of society and thus helping to establish a network of partnerships throughout the community. Those visiting El Reina Sofia will do much more than just take-in artistic styles and masterpieces, but will in addition encounter a new way of experiencing the museum.
The art chosen to be apart of El Reina is meant to question the institutionalized norms of daily life. And it is through its bold art collection, the mission statement of El Reina shines through to the visitor. Having an understanding of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía's mission will prove to be very useful in your visit and will greatly increase your ability to interact with the museum’s collections and exhibits. For a more cohesive reading of the museum's mission, the museum's official website offers a detailed explanation of its objectives in its Mission Statement.
The being said, visitors of El Reina Sofia will be exposed to a great variety in artistic styles. Beyond traditional art forms, the exhibits and collection of the museum utilize lighting, audio, videography, literature, and models to enhance the visitor's experience. El Reina Sofia is also home to an expansive collection including works of art from the schools of Surrealism, Avant-Garde, Cubism, and Dada. Works of art produced by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Óscar Domínguez, André Masson, and many more are plentiful throughout the collection.
The museum’s most famous and most controversial work of art is Pablo Picasso’s Guernica. The massive mural-like painting is considered Picasso’s most powerful political statement as he painted it in protest to the Nazi’s bombing tests on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War after receiving approval from Spain’s soon to be fascist dictator, General Francisco Franco. If visiting El Reina Sofia, seeing this work of art is a must and will most certainly leave you feeling moved.
In order to best navigate the museum, its website offers a detailed directory of its collections and exhibits. It is highly recommended to take time before your visit to look over this information in order to prepare for what can seem an overwhelming experience as well as to make sure you get the opportunity to see pieces you are particularly interested in amidst the enormous collection. Also to help further your understanding of artistic styles, social contexts, and the purpose behind each collection/exhibit are either wall inscriptions or information cards placed at the entrance of each room – it is highly recommended you utilize these sources of information.
There is a coat check area at the entrance. Considering the amount of time it may take you to walk through the entire complex, the fee associated with it may be well worth it.
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Calle de Santa Isabel, 52 - Metro Atocha
T: +34 917 74 10 00
Hours: Monday, Wednesdays through Saturdays 10AM to 9PM
Sundays: Whole museum - 10AM to 2:30PM
Only ceratin sections of collection - 2:30PM to 7:00PM
Ticket offices close 30 minutes prior to closing