The inauguration of CaixaForum was the fourth and latest addition to the great museum scene in Madrid, made up by the Prado, the Thyssen Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía National Museum of Art, up until then known as the Triangle of Art. A unique concentration of culture along an avenue, Paseo del Prado, that leads to the nearby area of Atocha train station and the Reina Sofía Museum, located in the old hospital of San Carlos.
Below is a little bit on each of these museums, from the newest to the oldest. Inaugurated in 2008 as part of the social project of laCaixa bank, CaixaForum Madrid stands out among the other three for having a free entrance. All of its temporary exhibitions can be enjoyed without paying a single euro, as well as the vertical garden at the entrance of the building. The building itself is one of the main attractions, like for example the re-adaptation of an industrial building, the old Electrical Station of Mediodía, reconverted by the studio of Herzog & De Meuron into a modern space whose spiral staircase is worthy of a mention.
A short walk away south is the Reina Sofia Museum, the main contemporary art space in Madrid, directed with audacity, character and coherence by Manuel Borja-Villel. It has an important permanent collection that has its roots in artists like Sorolla or Rusiñol and it also offers a large catalogue of works by Dalí or Picasso, including the latter’s masterpiece El Guernica, a must for everyone who visits Madrid. Also not to be missed is the extension of the museum, carried out by the architect Jean Nouvel, which includes a library, a cafe and a bookshop (La Central), all of them with laudable design and harmony. The temporary exhibitions also offer an experience that goes beyond regular art contemplation.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, inaugurated in 1992, offers a more classic profile in its exhibitions, with a proposal that divides itself between the permanent collection and the temporary ones, excellently coordinated by its artistic director Guillermo Solana.
And, of course, the Prado Museum, a museum that has adapted itself to modern demands and that, after its extension, with a project from the Navarre architect Rafael Moneo, has gained in influence and in visiting numbers. Its paintings by Goya, Velázquez, Tiziano, Rubens, Tintoretto or Ribera are most definitely worth a visit. In 2019, it will be its 200th anniversary.
Hotel Victoria 4 is located in the heart of Madrid and it is a perfect starting point if you want to do the art route in the Spanish capital. We have the Paseo del Prado -where most of these museums are- barely a 15-minute walk away from the door of our hotel. Enjoy art in the morning and a lively shopping, bars and restaurant experience in the Puerta del Sol during the rest of the day.