The Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: these three museums are touted as the finest Madrid, Spain has to offer. And that’s true. These meccas of art and culture are must-see places for visitors. For art-savvy travelers who want to delve more into Madrid’s art scene or for culture vultures who have extra time in Spain’s bustling capital, here are five dynamic and fascinating museums that will enhance your experience of Madrid’s diverse museum scene.
Imagine seeing an artist’s studio replete with the paintbrushes, easels, and other essential tools of the work. The Sorolla Museum gives you exactly that opportunity. Located inside what was the Madrid home of renowned painter Joaquin Sorolla, originally from Valencia, visitors walk in Sorolla’s footsteps through the rooms where he worked, lived, and entertained. Some of his best paintings adorn the walls. You’ll find his personal ceramics collection on the ground floor and a stunning collection of black-and-white photographs of the artist and his family on the second floor. For a museum experience with a personal touch that goes beyond paintings, head to the Museo Sorolla. While the museum already has a very reasonable regular ticket price of 3 EUR (3.71 USD), it’s free on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Museum of Decorative Arts
See a new side of Spain in the Museum of Decorative Arts. From furniture to ceramics and fashion to silverware, this museum gives the historical and artistic context that you do not get when wandering through an art museum. This gem of a museum features five floors of rugs, ceramics, porcelains, glassware, and tapestries along with temporary exhibitions that often have a contemporary theme. You will learn more than you expected about Spanish life and luxury in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries and end your visit with a broader perspective on local culture, then and now. Be sure to visit on Sundays when admission is free.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Located inside the Conde Duque Cultural Center, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo is an essential stop for contemporary art fans. The museum features three floors of both permanent and temporary exhibitions that are always free to the public. While the majority is made up of paintings and graphic arts, photography, drawing, and sculpture are also included in the collection. If you want to satisfy more of your art craving, don’t go anywhere; just head to another part of the Conde Duque building. Rotating performances of dance, music, and theatre as well as film screenings are always available.
ABC Museum of Drawing and Illustration
Fun and funky, the ABC Museum of Drawing and Illustration is your best stop for creative innovation. The museum simultaneously features three to four different exhibitions on comics, design, and illustration. The exhibitions are often multimedia with print, video, and sound with just the right amount of historical information. If you see something that catches your eye, be sure to check out the museum’s extensive book and comic collection in its gift shop. Located near Madrid’s alternative neighborhood Malasaña and every day, the ABC Museum is the ideal place to ignite your imagination after a relaxing siesta or weekend lunch.
If you want to experience the opulence and lifestyle of the Spanish nobility, head to the Cerralbo Museum. This small but grand museum takes you back in time with its collection of armor, clocks, engravings, and more in this 19th century Italian-style mansion. Featuring art and artifacts from Europe and Asia, you will get an insider’s look at the aesthetic interests of one of Madrid’s elite. Just like the Museum of Decorative Arts, Museum Cerralbo is free on Sundays.
For culture vultures exploring Madrid, these museums are your best bet for improving your perspective and experience of the city’s museum scene. The Sorolla Museum, Museum of Decorative Arts, Contemporary Art Museum, ABC Museum of Drawing and Illustration, and Cerralbo Museum give you a stunning range of artistic experiences with free admission either on certain days or year round.
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