One of the things which endears me to the Spanish people is their exuberant zest for life, and their willingness to express themselves culturally; to expound their emotions for the world to see, rather than bottling up their inner most feelings. It is this ability to embrace life and ideas, and their unashamedly outgoing natures that has seen Spain’s artists create some perfectly brilliant works.
Much of this work is on display in Madrid, capital of Spain, where you can follow the “art route” which links three of Spain’s best collections, being the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía National Museum.
The three museums are located just a few metres from each other and are connected by one of the city’s main avenues: the Paseo del Prado. The tree-lined avenue is almost a work of art itself, containing the 18th-century ornamental fountains Cibeles and Neptuno, the Astronomical Observatory, plus the Royal Botanical Gardens.
The Prado Museum is regarded as one of the world’s great museums because it contains the most complete collection of Spanish painting from 11th-18th centuries; also numerous masterpieces by great universal artists such as El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Bosch, Titian, Van Dyck and Rembrandt.
It is home to numerous masterpieces of universal art such as Las Meninas by Velázquez, the two Majas by Goya, Nobleman with his hand on his chest by El Greco, the Garden of Delights by Bosch, and The Three Graces by Rubens, among other priceless pieces.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has one of the world’s greatest private collections of art. The collection was amassed by members of the Thyssen-Bornemisza family. In the nearly one thousand works on display, visitors can contemplate the major periods and pictorial schools of western art such as the Renaissance, Mannerism, the Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism and the art of the 19th and 20th centuries up to Pop Art.
The Reina Sofía National Museum is located in the old General Hospital built by the architect Sabatini under the orders of Charles III of Spain, and was designated a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1977. It is home to one of the world’s most highly-prized permanent collections.
The museum’s collections come from two sources, the old MEAC (Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art) collections and acquisitions made by the museum itself, in addition to works bequeathed by the Catalan artists Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. The permanent collection is located on the second floor, divided into rooms dedicated to early 20th-century Spanish painters; the Cubist movement, Picasso, Dalí, Miró, and a room entitled “Ideas”.