Top 5 Museums in Madrid

Editor's Picks
Top 5 Museums in Madrid:

1. The Prado Museum

Housed in a gigantic neo-classical building begun by Juan de Villanueva for King Charles III in 1785, the Prado Museum is Madrid's best-known attraction. Charles originally wanted to establish in Prado, a museum of natural sciences, reflecting one of his chief interests, but by the time Prado opened, in 1819, this plan had changed: the Prado was a public art museum - one of the world's first - displaying the royal art collection. Spain's 'non-king', Joseph Bonaparte, had first proposed the idea of the Prado art museum and it was taken up by the restored King Fernando VII, who took on board the demands of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes and those of his second wife, María Isabel de Braganza, considered the museum's true founder...

2. The Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Centre
Occupying an immense, slab-sided building, the Reina Sofía boasts an impressive façade with glass and steel lift-shafts, designed by British architect Ian Ritchie. Now, though, the museum has just as impressive a rear, in the form of three buildings, principally built of glass and steel, arranged around a courtyard and all covered by a triangular, zinc-and-aluminium roof, the work of French architect Jean Nouvel...

3. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
When the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum opened in 1992, Madrid added the second point to its 'Golden Triangle'. The private collection of the late Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza is widely considered the most important in the world. Consisting of 775 paintings, it came to Madrid on loan, but in 1993 a purchase agreement was signed with the Spanish state...

4. Sorolla Museum
Often considered a neo-Impressionist, Valencia-born Joaquín Sorolla was really an exponent of 'luminism', the celebration of light. He was renowned for his iridescent, sun-drenched paintings, including portraits and family scenes at the beach and in gardens...

5. Cerralbo Museum
In the Cerralbo Museum, laid out in a sumptuous late 19th-century mansion in Argüelles is the incredible private collection of artworks and artefacts assembled by Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, the 17th Marqués de Cerralbo...

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