Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Museum of Romanticism and More: Madrid, museum capital

From a media release:

The Museum of Romanticism and More: Madrid, museum capital

Madrid’s Museum of Romanticism and Costume Museum join forces for this exhibition of 22 outfits, reflecting the social uses of fashion in the 19th century.Most of the items are from the Costume Museum’s collection, including a frock coat which belonged to the writer Mariano José de Larra, and several wedding dresses and ball gowns with corsets and crinolines, very typical of the period. Tail-coats, waistcoats and frock coats are also on display. This temporary exhibition is complemented by themed activities for all ages. The exhibit is on until March 5, 2017.

Madrid - the Museum Route
At the end of the 18th century, King Charles III had a large avenue built with trees, fountains monuments and palaces fit for the capital of his kingdom. These buildings have been adapted for cultural purposes over the years, lending them world renown. Alongside newer buildings, they mean visitors can enjoy an infinite experience in the world of art in just 2 kilometres.

It's difficult to gauge the time this route takes. It will all depend on your interest in the various styles of artistic expression to be found along the route and how long you'd like to spend exploring all the cultural venues on the Paseo del Prado and in the surrounding streets.
View of the Puerta de Goya entrance, Prado Museum. © Turespaña
We recommend starting with a visit to the exhibitions in two emblematic buildings in Calle Alcalá street at the junction with the Gran Vía. The Círculo de Bellas Artes (Academy of Fine Arts) founded in 1880, is at no. 42, and keeps a close watch on all the latest avant-garde art trends. Across the street at no. 49 is the Cariátides building, today the headquarters of the Cervantes Institute, dedicated to promoting Hispanic culture.

We start heading up the Paseo del Prado from the famous Cibeles fountain. Before setting off, take a look at the Casa de América (Plaza de Cibeles, 2) in the Linares Palace. Legend has it that the palace's ghosts may surprise visitors as they tour the rococo-style rooms, browse the exhibitions or attend debates on Latin American issues.
Exterior of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum © Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
The Thyssen-Bornemisza museum is at no. 88 Paseo del Prado, in the neo-classical Villahermosa Palace . A tour of the permanent collection offers an extensive survey of European painting from the 13th century to the present day, with outstanding works from the Renaissance, Impressionist and avant-garde movements. It also houses one of the few collections of 19th-century North American painting in Europe.

Now, we should prepare to dedicate a large part of the day to the main destination on the route: the Prado Museum. It's no surprise that it's regarded as one of the most important galleries in the world, and an absolute must for art lovers. Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, Rubens, Hieronymus Bosch... and numerous other towering figures of universal art hang on the walls of the rooms in this great neo-classical building. Designed by Juan de Villanueva, a recent extension by Rafael Moneo (2007) now houses new exhibition spaces and museum services.



Our artistic tour continues at no. 36 with a new modern venue: the CaixaForum culture and exhibition centre designed by the architects Herzog and De Meuron. The vertical garden hanging from the façade offers an evoactive counterpoint to its neighbour across the road, the Royal Botanical Gardens, with 30,000 plant species.

We're now reaching the southernmost point and the end of the Paseo del Arte. The Reina Sofía National Art Museum (Santa Isabel, 52) was recently extended by Jean Nouvel and provides a fitting addition to our journey with a wide selection of contemporary painting. Here we can see Picasso's Guernica and the work of artists such as Miró, Dalí, Saura, Gargallo, Magritte and Max Ernst.
Façade of the Reina Sofía National Art Centre © Ministerio de Cultura
There's also the option of adding another three visits. First, the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts museum (Alcalá, 13, around 20 minutes' walk from the Reina Sofía National Art Museum) has a collection of paintings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. We can also stop off at the National Museum of Decorative Arts (Montalbán, 12) which houses around 15,000 pieces. Finally, the Naval Museum (Paseo del Prado, 5) contains collections on Spain's naval history.

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