A tour of contemporary art in the Reina Sofía Museum
10 de June de 2019
10 de June de 2019
The National Reina Sofía Art Museum (MNCARS) occupies one side of Madrid's famous 'Art Triangle', with galleries of the standard of El Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum lining the other sides. Located at number 8 of Paseo del Prado, the MNCARS building was commissioned by Carlos III initially as a hospital designed by José de Hermosilla. The project was expanded in 2001 under the supervision of architect Jean Nouvel, who designed a triangular annex, which houses the library, the central terrace and the red roof.
The EAE students listened carefully to the guide Berta's explanations of the building's history as they looked around the long, intricate hallways. The visit began with the works of the Catalan painter and sculptor Joan Miró, a master of the national surrealist movement. His artworks, calligraphic paintings, artistic language, interplay of textures and his approach to "killing the painting" surprised the group on the visit. Miró loved poetry and included it on his paintings with metamorphic elements and transparencies.
Spanish art from the second half of the century was showcased with the work of artist such as Pablo Gargallo, whose sculpture 'The Prophet' takes centre stage in one of the rooms of the Reina Sofía Museum. Other notable artworks include the paintings of Julio González and his three-dimensional metal figures characterized by hollows and disintegration loaded with movement and expressiveness. In order to get a global overview of the art, the participants on the guided tour organized by EAE viewed the artworks from a 360º panorama that made them more insightful.
Picasso and Guernica
The Malaga-born artist Pablo Picasso has close ties to the mission of the Reina Sofía Museum. Precisely the year he was born, 1881, marks the start of the historical period of the artworks displayed at the gallery. The participants on EAE's cultural visit has the chance to marvel at one of the artist's most international paintings, Guernica, one of the greatest masterpieces at the MNCARS.
The origin of the painting dates back to 1937, when Picasso was living in Paris. He received a visit from a Spanish delegate who proposed that he contributed to the Spanish Pavilion of the International Exhibition in Paris with a large-scale mural. The key moment captured in the painting is inspired by the bombing of Guernica, a small town in the Basque Country, by the German and Italian air forces. This war experiment had global repercussions and filled the front pages of newspapers all over the world. The images of the civil victims, particularly women and children, inspired Pablo Picasso to paint this modern allegory in black and white.
The symbolism gives a global meaning to Guernica, which has become an emblem of peace. It shows animals such as the bull, the dove and the horse, women and children, houses devastated by fire, and objects such as the broken sword, the flower, the horseshoe and the light bulb. This condemnation of war has travelled the world before reaching Spain to become an iconic representation of conflict. Guernica was eventually exhibited in the Spanish Pavilion in 1937.
The photographs of Dora Maar, Picasso's partner, illustrate the evolution of the creation of Guernica, while Robert Rosenblum's shots show scenes of refugees. This portrayals of pain grabbed the students' attention on EAE's guided tour. The diverse group included newcomers who have started their programs in April, who are just starting to settle into life in the capital, alongside students who have just finished preparing their Master's Theses, who were a little stressed and overwhelmed.
Art from the turn of the century
From 1894, the painting by Ramón Casas 'The Garrotte' is a social chronicle of Barcelona, where justice is meted out in the middle of the street. Alongside the canvas, the early piece of film by the Lumière entitled 'Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon' was projected, along with old photographs of Madrid in this period, including the inauguration of the metro by Alfonso XIII. Opposite, there were etchings by Goya of 'The Caprices' and 'The Disasters of War'.
The master of surrealism, Salvador Dalí lets his imagination run wild throughout the rooms of the Madrid museum, with masterpieces such as 'Endless Enigma', 'The Great Masturbator', 'The Invisible Man' and 'The Enigma of Hitler'. To finish the guided tour, the EAE students had the chance to see the cubist paintings of Juan Gris, a close friend of Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque. The interpretation of deconstructed reality in different planes and perspectives captured everybody's attention.