The Reina Sofía’s collection of 20th- and 21st-century Spanish art is exciting and challenging by turns. The museum, set in a former hospital, was inaugurated by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía in 1992 and, besides the permanent collection, stages temporary exhibitions. While there are works by the great masters of the interwar period – Juan Gris, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso, whose Guernica is the centrepiece of the gallery – visitors can also find lesser-known Spanish painters and sculptors.


Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia at night


prac_info Calle Santa Isabel 52 • 917 74 10 00 • www.museoreinasofia.esOpen 10am–9pm Mon & Wed–Sat, 10am–7pm Sun; closed Tue, 1 Jan, 6 Jan, 1 May, 15 May, 9 Nov, 24–25 Dec, 31 Dec • Adm €8 (free 7–9pm Mon & Wed–Sat, 1:30–7pm Sun); Paseo del Arte €29.60

Google Map

  • The café-restaurant on the ground floor of the Nouvel Building has a daily set-price menu and is accessed from the museum, or from Calle Argumosa 43.
  • The museum shop sells Spanish designer jewellery and ceramics as well as books, slides and posters.

Museum Guide

The entrance to the main Sabatini Building is in Plaza Sánchez Bustillo. Permanent collections can be found on the first, second and fourth floors, and temporary exhibitions on the first and third floors. Further permanent collections are in the Nouvel Building. Exhibits are susceptible to change. To the west and south of the courtyard are two buildings housing an art library, a restaurant, a book- shop and an auditorium.

1. Woman in Blue

This marvellous Blue-period portrait (1901) of an insolent-looking courtesan by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was painted from memory soon after his first visit to Paris. When it failed to win a national competition, a disgruntled Picasso discarded it.

2. Shout No. 7

Antonio Saura (1930–1998) portrays the devastation after the Spanish Civil War in this painting (1959). He was a key exponent of the Spanish art brut trend which achieved international success in the late 1950s, once the Spanish borders were opened to artists.

3. Portrait of Sonia de Klamery

Hermenegildo Anglada-Camarasa (1871–1959) had a sensual style as this evocative painting (c.1913) shows.

4. The Gathering at the Café de Pombo

José Gutiérrez Solana (1886–1945) loved to record the social life of Madrid, as seen in this 1920 portrait. The painting’s owner, Ramón Gómez de la Serna, is shown in the centre.


The Gathering at the Café de Pombo by José Gutiérrez Solana

5. Lying Figure

This nude by Francis Bacon (1909–1992) was based on photographs of Henrietta Moraes by John Deakin, and evokes the distortion of humanity.

6. The Great Masturbator

Catalan artist Salvador Dalí (1904–89) was a leading exponent of Surrealism, with its exploration of the subconscious. The figure of the Masturbator (1929) is derived from a weird rock formation at Cadaqués, close to where Dalí had a home.

7. Accidente

Also known as Self-portrait, Alfonso Ponce de León’s (1906–36) disturbing work was painted during the last year of his life, and prefigures his tragic death in a car crash. The painting, which shows a man violently thrown from a vehicle, is a mixture of realistic elements, along with lack of depth, flat colour and artificial lighting, which reflect the artist’s use of both Surrealism and Magic Realism.


Accidente by Alfonso Ponce de León

8. Portrait II

Joan Miró (1893–1983) encompassed Cubism and Surrealism but he never lost his extraordinary originality. In this 1938 work the Catalan painter is more interested in juxtaposing colours rather than revealing the physical attributes of the sitter.


Portrait II by Joan Miró

9. Superimposition of Grey Matter

Antoni Tàpies’s (1923–2012) “matter paintings” explore texture and are composed by adding layers of mixed media, such as sand, powdered marble and paint, onto a pre-varnished canvas.

10. Guitar in Front of the Sea

Juan Gris (1887–1927) became one of Cubism’s leading exponents. This 1925 work is an excellent example.

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