Madrid is an art lover’s paradise.
From el Museo Nacional Arqueológico to the Prado, once can see millenniums of portraiture, sculpture, architecture and prehistoric cave drawings.
In a few short days I scoured no less than five of the world’s greatest collections of art and artifacts. In addition to Museo Nacional Arqueólogo, I visited the following (with a brief description of the highlights of each):
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza: Home of one of the world’s most distinguished private art collections, this museum’s permanent collection spans a period from the late 13th century to the 1980s. Old masters, Renaissance and Baroque art, the Dutch school and Modern Paintings, including Cubism and Surrealism, covers seven centuries of the history of painting.
The Prado: The name, the reputation, the history speaks for itself. Unfortunately photos were prohibited, so I can only tease you with the names of the incredible works I was able to see. Velázquez -Las Meninas and The Spinners, Titian – Bacchanal of the Adrian’s, Charles V, Raphael – The Cardinal and Madonna of the Fish, Caravaggio – David Victorious over Goliath, Rubens – The Three Graces and Adoration of the Magi, Heronymous Bosch – The Garden of Earthly Delights and Table of the Seven Deadly Sins, Goya – The Third of May and Saturn devouring his Child, Dürer – Portrait and Adam and Eve, El Greco – The Holy Trinity and Knight with his hand on his Chest, Fra Angelico – The Annunciation, Antonella da Messina – The Dead Christ Supported by an Angel, Rembrandt, Van Dyck.
Museo Nacional Arqueólogico The collection includes, among others, Prehistoric, Egyptian, Celtic, Iberian, Greek and Roman antiquities and medieval (Visigothic, Islamic Spanish and Christian) objects.
The Lady of Elche was discovered at L’Alcúdia, an archaeological site near Elche, Spain. It is known as an Iberian artifact from the 4th century BC, with Hellenistic influences. According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, the Lady of Elche is believed to have a direct association with Tanit, the goddess of Carthage, who was worshiped by the Phonecian-Iberians.
Real Academia de Bellas Artes: This academy, founded in 1752 during the reign of Fernando VI, was a place of study for painters, sculptors and architects. The Academia is one of the best art galleries in Spain, displaying collections that span 5 centuries and giving an overview of the history of art from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century. In addition to paintings and sculpture, the museum exhibits drawings, photographs, furniture, objects of silver and gold, porcelain and other decorative arts. The Goya rooms hold the second largest collection of the master’s work in the world. El Greco, Rubens, Sorrolla and Picasso are also on display.
Museo Reina Sofía is Spain’s national museum of 20th-century art, and one of the art museums comprising the Golden Triangle of Art (located along the Paseo del Prado and also comprising the Museo del Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza).
The museum is mainly dedicated to Spanish art. Highlights of the museum include excellent collections of Spain’s two greatest 20th-century masters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Certainly, the most famous masterpiece in the museum is Picasso’s painting Guernica. The Reina Sofía collection has works by artists such as Eduardo Chillida, Pablo Gargallo, Julio González, Luis Gordillo, Juan Gris, José Gutiérrez Solana, Joan Miró, Lucio Muñoz, Jorge Oteiza, Pablo Serrano, and Antoni Tàpies.