Tourist’s guide to Reina Sofia Art Center – Madrid’s main museum

The Reina Sofia Art Center is one of the most visited museums in the world located in Madrid. In less than 40 years, he managed to turn from an ordinary art center into a world-famous museum, which contains the most famous paintings and sculptures of the 20th century.

Reina Sofia Art Center

General information

Sofia Art Center is the National Museum of Madrid, which includes a library, pinacoteca and gallery. Along with the Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, it is included in the Golden Triangle of the main city of Spain.

The center of Sofia is located in the center of Madrid, and annually it is visited by over 3.6 million people. Interestingly, the museum is on the list of twenty most visited art galleries in the world.

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The unofficial name of the museum is “Sofidou”, because, like in the Paris Pompidou Center, there is a rich collection of paintings and sculptures of the 20th century (about 20 thousand exhibits in total). The library stores over 40 thousand volumes.


Interestingly, the Museum of Madrid often holds lectures for students, and holds master classes in drawing. Also in the halls of the center you can meet art scientists.

History of creation

The Sofia Museum of Art was founded in 1986 as an exhibition gallery, in which sculptural compositions prevailed. The official opening took place only after 6 years – in 1992 the royal couple opened it on a grand scale.

In 1988, the center was given the status of a national museum, and a decision was made according to which only paintings created by the best artists of the 20th century will be exhibited in the gallery. It is important that the craftsmen must either come from Spain, or live in this country a sufficient amount of time.

At the moment, the Queen’s Museum consists of three parts:

  1. Exhibition halls with a permanent exhibition (1, 3 floors).
  2. Exhibition halls with a temporary exposure (2, 4, 5 floors).
  3. Research Center. Here is the most modern equipment and it is possible to conduct lectures for students and teachers.

The total area of ​​the halls is about 12,000 square meters. km In size it is ahead only of the French center of Maria Pompidou in Paris, whose territory is more than 40,000 square meters. km

Museum collection

Exhibition Hall in the Center for the Arts

More than 30 temporary exhibitions are held at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid over the year, and since it is impossible to describe them all, we will consider the permanent exhibition of the center. Conventionally, it is divided into three parts:

The Art of Two World Wars

This is the most depressing and utopian part of the museum, which presents the most complex (emotionally) and inaccessible to ordinary viewers works of art. The “face” of this part of the exposition is the painting “Guernica”. It was written by Pablo Picasso in 1937, and is dedicated to the bombing of the city of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

Most of the paintings in this part of the museum were created in dark shades, which creates the oppressive feeling that the authors of the works sought.

“Has the war really ended?” Post-war art

Post-war paintings and sculptures are already much more “light” and vibrant. In this part of the exhibition you can see a number of works of art belonging to Salvador Dali and Joan Miró.

Sculpture in the center of art

In their paintings you can still see traces of recent hostilities in Spain, but these are already much more rich and joyful canvases that many visitors like.


The third part of the center with such an unusual name contains paintings by famous surrealists (Togores, Miró, Magritte), avant-garde artists (Blanchard, Gargallo), futurists and postmodernists. Among the works of the best Spanish artists can be found paintings of Soviet artists – A. Rodchenko and L. Popova.

We can state with confidence that this is the most mysterious and difficult to understand part of the Reina Sofia Museum – not all visitors can unravel the meaning that was laid down in these canvases.

Temporary exhibitions

As for temporary exhibitions, they are as interesting and varied as the permanent exhibition. Now in the Museum of Art you can visit the exhibition “Women in Pop Art”, “Feminism” and “Through the Camera Lens”.

Temporary exhibition

Photos from most past exhibitions can be found on the official website in the “Exhibitions” section.

Practical information:

  1. Address: Calle de Santa Isabel 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain.
  2. Opening hours: 10.00 – 21.00 (all days except Tuesday and Sunday), 10.00 – 19.00 (Sunday), Tuesday is a day off.
  3. Ticket price: 10 euros for an adult. For children, students and senior citizens – free of charge. The last two hours of work on weekdays (from 19.00 to 21.00) – free admission.
  4. Official website:

Prices in the article are for November 2019.

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Useful Tips

  1. Many tourists note that the collection of works (especially at temporary exhibitions) is quite specific, and even lovers of modern art may not like everything.
  2. Hall in the center of art
  3. Those who don’t really like contemporary art are advised to go straight to the 2nd floor – there are works by world-famous artists Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso.
  4. If you like the exposition of the art center, then it makes sense to visit the museum courtyard – there you can see a number of sculptures by modern Spanish masters.
  5. Visitors to the Art Center in Madrid, named after Queen Sofia, note that employees do not speak English, which may be a problem for some.
  6. If you plan to visit the Queen’s Museum in the morning, come straight to the opening – after 10.30 a very large line is going to be here.
  7. Glass elevators offer beautiful views of Madrid.

The Reina Sofia Center is the most famous contemporary art museum in Madrid.

The history of the painting “Guernica”:

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