Museums in Madrid, Spain

Category: Madrid

Madrid, the capital and largest city in Spain, is known the world around for its fascinating museums—forty-four in all—beginning with the four museums that make up its Paseo del Arte, or Avenue of Art. These are the Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, and since 2007, the Centro de la Obra Social La Caixa, or CaixaForum. Below we will take a brief look at these and some of the other Madrid museums that together make this city such a delight to visit.

Museo del Prado

The Museo del Prado is one of the most significant art museums in Europe and among the best in the world. The amazing collection housed here is made up of European art from the 12th-19th century and includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, and other art objects. Some of the most important artists of the time are represented here, including Rubens, Titian, Bosch, Velazquez (his Las Minimas is the museum’s most treasured piece) and Goya, the most extensive collection of his art in the world. The Villanueva building houses Spanish paintings from romantic to 19th century styles, as well as important works by Italian, Flemish, French, Dutch, German and English artists.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Once the private collection of Baron Hans Heinrich until taken over by the state, the over 800 paintings at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza are now on display for the entire world to see. Here you will find exhibits and displays from the 13th century to the present, representing the most important trends and artistic movements of the last few hundred years.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia La Reina Sofia

For those who enjoy a mix of late 19th century and 20th century Spanish art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia will certainly not disappoint. The first half of this impressive collection—from the late 1800s through World War II—features beautiful pieces by Juan Gris, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, including his famous Guernica painting. The other half of the collection, with gorgeous works on display by artists such as Antonio Saura and Eduardo Chillida, features work from the late 1940s through the early 1980s.

Centro de la Obra Social La Caixa, Madrid (CaixaForum)

The newest member to the Paseo del Arte, the Centro de la Obra Social La Caixa, or CaixaForum, was inaugurated by the Kings of Spain in 2008, and its 10,000 square meters of space was designed by the renowned Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron, making the building just as interesting as the contents within. This Madrid cultural center features over 700 artistic pieces, but even as impressive as its art is the vertical botanical garden designed by French botanist Patrick Herzog, made up of 15,000 plants from over 200 species.

Other important Madrid Museums include:
Casa Museo Lope de Vega. A museum dedicated to the writer Lope de Vega, this is the house where he lived from 1610 until his death in 1635.
Museo Lázaro Galdiano. This collection is one of the most significant in all of Spain, comprised of decorative art and paintings of well-known European artists.
Museo de America. Dedicated to Spain’s colonization of the Americas, this collection features over 25,000 artifacts from Central and South America, with an emphasis on Pre-Columbian art.
Museo Naval de Madrid. Run by the Spanish Armada, this is one of the most important naval museums in the world.