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Trip Report The Golden Triangle of Art - Madrid

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Madrid has a strong artistic atmosphere, especially in the Retiro district – three major art museums formed a Golden Triangle of Art which has one of the most prestigious classical art collection in the world. With a Madrid Card, visitors could have free access to the three museums without queuing. I went to the three museums in a day. In fact, it would easily need three days for an art buff to truly appreciate and enjoy the art piece by piece.

1. Of all the “must-do” in Madrid travel guide, Museo Nacional del Prado could easily get voted the most important “things to do” in Madrid. Unlike its fellow museums such as Le Louvre, or the National Gallery in London, the exterior of the Prado Museum may look a little bit subtle. Yet it doesn’t undermine its scale and importance in European classical art. The national museum has an extensive art collection with over 7,000 paintings, from Spanish artists like Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and Peter Paul Rubens, along with other famous artists including El Greco, Titan, Rembrandt, Albrecht Durer, Raphael, and much more…

The most iconic masterpiece of them all would probably be Velázquez’s Las Meninas, who brought portraits of the Felipe IV’s family to a new level of originality. Personally, I love Goya’s high contrast and solid color style, the simplistic yet mindfully depiction of people in his paintings impressed and inspired me so much. Since the museum does not allow photography, we had to appreciate these masterpieces by heart.:) You could visit for some tips about visiting Prado!

2. The Queen Sofia Museum, or Reina Sofia National Art Museum, on the other hand, housed a contemporary art collection of 17,000 artworks, including the most famous painting Guernica by Picasso, who transposed anger and frustration about a Guernica (Basque village) bombing scene during the Spanish Civil War on canvas and created a masterpiece. Queen Sofia has different exhibition halls, with temporary and periodic themed contemporary exhibitions (including my favorite installation art exhibitions), and a permanent art exhibition (like Picasso) on the second floor. Of course, to me, the permanent exhibition sounded way more impressive with Picasso, Miró, and Dali.
More details and you are welcome to visit and leave comments! @

3. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum was originally a private art collection by, yes, Thyssen-Bornemisza (and a rather big one, second largest in the world after the British Royal Collection) and now it is a privately owned art museum in the Golden Triangle. Interestingly (or coincidentally), Thyssen has a comprehensive survey of Western Art – from classical to modern, impressionism to pop; so the museum kinda filled the gaps and holes of its fellow Prado and Queen Sofia with a new perspective. Notable artworks are rather random, luckily they are carefully themed and arranged so the paintings don’t lose the focus. My surprising moments would be seeing Pop-Arts at the end of our mini art-tour day.

Another special place to go in the district is the Caixa Forum. It is a modern refurbishment of an old abandoned electrical station on the way between Queen Sofia and Thyssen. It has now become a museum and a cultural center. The site was constructed by Swiss architects – the roof of the old building was lifted up and encased with iron with a sharp color of red. In contrast, a green wall was built next to the building and it was designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc. Love the way how old buildings are revitalized – and how the once abandoned, ignored structure has become popular again! You are welcome to visit for more details, photos and share your experience as well!

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