Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

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Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Edificio Sabatini. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.jpg
Established September 10, 1992; 25 years ago (1992-09-10)
Location Madrid, Spain
Visitors 3.2 million (2013)[1]
Ranked 12th globally (2013)[1]
Director Manuel Borja-Villel[2]
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Native name
Spanish: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
MNCARS 05.jpg
Location Madrid, Spain
Official name: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Type Non-movable
Criteria Monument
Designated 1978
Reference no. RI-51-0004260
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is located in Spain
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Location of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Spain

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS, also called the Museo Reina Sofía, Queen Sofía Museum, El Reina Sofía, or simply El Reina) is Spain's national museum of 20th-century art. The museum was officially inaugurated on September 10, 1992, and is named for Queen Sofía. It is located in Madrid, near the Atocha train and metro stations, at the southern end of the so-called 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 Joan Miró, Eduardo Chillida, Pablo Gargallo, Julio González, Luis Gordillo, Juan Gris, José Gutiérrez Solana, Lucio Muñoz, Jorge Oteiza, Julio Romero de Torres, Pablo Serrano, and Antoni Tàpies.

International artists are few in the collection, but there are works by Francis Bacon, Joseph Beuys, Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Robert Delaunay, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Damien Hirst, Donald Judd, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Yves Klein, Fernand Léger, Jacques Lipchitz, René Magritte, Henry Moore, Bruce Nauman, Gabriel Orozco, Nam June Paik, Man Ray, Diego Rivera, Mark Rothko, Julian Schnabel, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Clyfford Still, Yves Tanguy, and Wolf Vostell.

Along with its extensive collection, the museum offers a mixture of national and international temporary exhibitions in its many galleries, making it one of the world's largest museums for modern and contemporary art.

It also hosts a free-access library specializing in art, with a collection of over 100,000 books, over 3,500 sound recordings, and almost 1,000 videos.

History of the building[edit]

Courtyard in old hospital building
Jean Nouvel building interior


The building is on the site of the first General Hospital of Madrid. King Philip II centralized all the hospitals that were scattered throughout the court. In the eighteenth century, King Ferdinand VI decided to build a new hospital because the facilities at the time were insufficient for the city. The building was designed by architect José de Hermosilla and his successor Francisco Sabatini who did the majority of the work. In 1805, after numerous work stoppages, the building was to assume its function that it had been built for, which was being a hospital, although only one-third of the proposed project by Sabatini was completed. Since then it has undergone various modifications and additions until, in 1969, it was closed down as a hospital.

Art museum[edit]

Extensive modern renovations and additions to the old building were made starting in 1980. The central building of the museum was once an 18th-century hospital. The building functioned as the Centro del Arte (Art Center) from 1986 until established as the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in 1988. In 1988, portions of the new museum were opened to the public, mostly in temporary configurations; that same year it was decreed by the Ministry of Culture as a national museum. Its architectural identity was radically changed in 1989 by Ian Ritchie with the addition of three glass circulation towers.


An 8000 m2 (86,000 ft2) expansion costing €92 million designed by French architect Jean Nouvel opened in October 2005. The extension includes spaces for temporary exhibitions, an auditorium of 500 seats, and a 200-seat auditorium, a bookshop, restaurants and administration offices.[3] ducks scéno was consultant for scenographic equipement of auditoriums and Arau Acustica for acoustic studies.[4]

Photo gallery[edit]

Notable works[edit]

Popular culture references[edit]

The museum features, as a major protagonist, in Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Control (2009).

In the 2003 Spanish film Noviembre, the school entrance scenes and some performance scenes were shot in the square in front of the museum.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Top 100 Art Museum Attendance, The Art Newspaper, 2014. Retrieved on 15 July 2014.
  2. ^ New Director named Archived 2011-06-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "The Ateliers Jean Nouvel". Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Retrieved 14 December 2017. 
  4. ^ "Dans les cartons: Auditoriums Museo Reina Sofia". 9 March 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°24′32″N 3°41′40″W / 40.40889°N 3.69444°W / 40.40889; -3.69444