In only a couple of meters from the railroad station of Atocha, one of the best galleries of modern art in the entire world can be encountered – the Museum of Queen Sofia. Not far away, there are museums such as Museo del Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza, which altogether form the famous Golden Triangle of Art!
Interestingly enough, the building on which the museum stands today was previously the first General Hospital of Madrid. The hospital was established by King Ferdinand VI in order to provide a centre of medical examinations for all residents of the ending 17th century. Yet, the construction of the hospital prolonged as the project seemed too costly. In 1805, the building assumed its function as a hospital until it was closed in 1965. Modern renovations initiated in 1980 in order to establish a great gallery that would host numerous modern works. It functioned as an independent art centre until 1988, when it was renamed into the National Museum and Centre of Art of Queen Sofia. Yet, the museum was officially inaugurated in 1992, opening its halls for the public.
The collection of the Museum of Queen Sofia contains artworks starting from 19th-century until the present moment. The museum preserves a number of the most renowned and highlighting works of several modernist genius and avant-garde artists, such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. Also, it is possible to encounter several paintings of artists such as Francisco de Goya (19th century).
Yet, there is one painting that it is literally impossible to miss out while visiting the museum – it is Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica”, probably the most iconic masterpiece of 20th century’s Spain. By painting this work, Picasso desired to express his criticism of the devastating bombardment by the combined German and Italian air forces carried out on the civil population of a town called Guernica, located in the Pais Basco. It is worth mentioning that Picasso was able to produce such a marvel only in one month!
In the beginning, Guernica was exhibited at the global exhibition in Paris with the original aim to raise awareness and support for the Republic’s side in the context of the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939. By the end of the conflict, Picasso refused to return to Spain, where Franco had already established his dictatorial grip. This way, in 1939 “Guernica” ended up in New York City, and only in 1981, it returned to Spain.
In addition, the Museum of Queen Sofia exhibits numerous works of the famous Spanish painter – Salvador Dali. The works include the “Persistence of memory”, “Great Masturbator” and “Female figure near the window”, where Dali represented his sister, Ana Maria.
Inside the museum, there is a coffee bar, where after a long excursion it is possible to share the collected impressions and take a little rest. Nearby, inside the building of the railway station, there’s an exotic tropical garden with a small pond inhabited by tens of turtles. Therefore, whenever an excursion is ended, this little space provides a perfect atmosphere for encountering ideal relaxation!