We all love to travel; it’s an innate part of being human, getting out there and exploring the world around us. We hold within us the desire to explore our surroundings from a very young age, perhaps even starting from the first time we learn to comprehend what is around us as a baby, wandering into places we shouldn’t purely because we want to see what’s there. It is a desire that never quite leaves us, even when we grow and mature over the years, it’s just always there: that yearning, the wanderlust, waiting to be fulfilled.
Whilst there are many ways to satiate our travel-pangs, such as a cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse, for example, or a backpack trip around the world, there’s no better way than just going to a destination and exploring the culture of the locals for yourself. After all, you’ve all the time in the world with which to explore the rest of it, so take your time.
Madrid has long held a particular draw for those with the inclination to travel. Perhaps it is the Spanish culture, the people, the sights, or the language, but for one reason or another, millions of tourists flock to experience the city for themselves. However, one might ask just whatever exactly is it they experience there that makes it such a great place to go
to? Worry not, for here we have an extensive look at one (or three, depending on how you look at it) of the most sought-after artistic destinations in Madrid.
The Golden Triangle
In days gone by, it might simply have been enough to recommend going to the Prado art museum, however today that just simply isn’t the case.
One of the main attractions in Madrid these days is its fantastic collection of art museums, a leading triumvirate of which converge to form what is colloquially known as “the Golden Triangle” of museums, presumably because there are three of them: the Museo Nacional Del Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina
Due to the extensive nature and content of the Golden Triangle it is wise to set at least an entire day or two aside for them, more so if you wish to view everything on offer.
Or the Museo Nacional Del Prado, to give it its full glorified name, focuses primarily on classical art – of which its collection is extensive. The collection consists mainly of works by European artists and numbers somewhere in the tens of thousands, with any thousand or so of which are on display at any one time (as ten thousand in one go would be an impressive feat indeed). Expect to see works of Italian, French, Dutch, Flemish, and German artists on display, yet the chief draw would be the large collection of Spanish works on offer, which is worth almost a day in itself. A good idea would be to plan which artists you have an interest in viewing beforehand and then structure your visit accordingly.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which draws its name from collection-starters Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and his father Heinrich, initially started out as a private collection and grew to over 1,600 paintings – the largest private collection in the world, after the British Royal Collection.
The Baron largely kept the art to himself and his contemporaries until his wife kindly persuaded him to graciously open up his extensive collection to the public. After searching for some time where to house the collection, the Baron opted for the Paseo del Prado, located near the aforementioned Prado museum itself.
The collection itself is incredibly varied when compared to the others in the Triangle, being known to house a variety of works from 14th century masters, examples from most historically important artistic movements, as well as pop-culture art from as recent as the 60s. The Museo Thyssen is certainly a grand day out for those with an interest in art that doesn’t revolve around a fixed point in history.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is another must-see museum and the final stop in the Triangle. The collection this time mainly revolves around abstract art, containing works by Picasso, Dalí, and Miró, to name but a few. The museum’s collections of Picasso and Dalí in particular are worth mentioning, as they are both extensive and excellent, well worth the time, for anyone that has an interest in these two masters, or indeed anyone that has an eye for abstract art in the slightest.