Posts Tagged ‘Reina Sofia’

I recently began a series of posts regaling my recent two week trip to Spain. Beginning in Madrid, I soaked up all the amazing art to behold in the capital city. Day 2 was another bucket list day, the highlight a visit to the modern art museum formally referred to as the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

A five minute walk from the Prado, this is the sprawling home of Spain’s collection of 20th Century works – think Picasso, Dali, Miro, Gris, and showcases one of Picasso’s most powerful works, Guernica.

museoreinasofiaThe large 4-story building is an odd combination of classic architecture set up in a square configuration with interior Romanesque colonnade and galleries breaking off on each side…and industrial modern elevator shafts attached to the outside, facing a city square with a variety of cafes. We arrived late in the afternoon, many of the museums in Spain offer free entrance late in the day or on specific days of the month.

Families gathered at the cafes, kids playing soccer in the square, the various public sculptures proved great hiding spots for a game of tag.

Again, it was impossible to see everything in one visit, so we headed straight to the Picassos. Guernica is massive, 3.5 meters high and 7.8 meters wide, a black and white mural painted in oil. It is an emotional homage to the horror inflicted by German and Italian forces at the behest of Franco on the Basque town of Guernica in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. It has become an anti-war symbol, representing the suffering war inflicts on innocent people.









The gallery where the mural resides is stark white, eerily quiet despite the mass of viewers moving through. The Cubist style is striking, providing a dramatic edge and visual confusion that evokes the shards of glass, mangled bodies and screams of horror. The eye with the lightbulb shines a light onto the confusion, a massive triangular composition, all in service of the question, “why?” and the declaration that we will not forget.

The lack of color is disturbing, it feels like death. The contrasting rhythm of black and white leads the eye through the maze of exaggerated and distorted shapes. It was striking to see after the previous day’s visit to Las Meninas. Both profound in their commentary on Spanish history, both leaving a lasting impression.

2014 Spain 043I left the museum in a bit of a fog, my excitement tempered by the mood of the art. Contemporary abstraction often does that for me, triggering a spectrum of emotions that goes so much deeper than appreciating a “pretty work of art.”IMG_4631

The walk to Plaza Mayor for dinner and sangria offered time to process and soak back up the warmth and heart of the city, the tapas bars humming with crowds, the vitality injected back into my spirit.

I couldn’t wait for what the next days would bring. Ole!!



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