Discover the top things to do in Madrid
For Art Lovers
The opportunities are endless. In Madrid you can travel through the artistic periods in all their stages. Alongside the established museums such as El Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, with their great masterpieces, you can find small treasures such as the Sorolla Museum. Our luxury hotel offers a perfect combination between art, culture and leisure in Madrid. Thanks to its location near the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, in Paseo de la Castellana, the Villa Magna is the perfect hotel to stay in Madrid.
If you are a keen collector or only an art enthousiast, the Villa Magna recommends some addresses.
Paseo del Arte
This is the name given to the road that connects the Paseo de la Castellana with the Paseo de los Recoletos and El Prado as this is where some of the top museums in the world can be found. It is just a short walk from the Hotel Villa Magna.
El Prado Museum. This spectacular art museum, decisively promoted by two Spanish queens, is a must-see for all art lovers. Specialised in the Spanish, Italian and Flemish schools, it is home to paintings by some of the finest masters such as Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, Titian and Bosch. Their inspired chiaroscuros, imaginative allegories and fine eye for detail in their paintings were a decisive influence for later artists such as Picasso and Francis Bacon (Ruiz de Alarcón, 23. www.museodelprado.es).
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. This holds one of the biggest and finest private collections in Europe, with works on exhibit that span from 13th century Italian Gothic to contemporary pieces of the 1980s. It offers an uninterrupted view which ranges from the old masters to practically all the avant-garde styles from impressionism to pop art; an unusual phenomenon in European museums. The building itself was originally one of the most beautiful in Madrid. (Paseo del Prado, 8. www.museothyssen.org).
Reina Sofía Museum. This former Neo-classical hospital converted into a temple of modern art is home to key pieces such as Picasso’s El Guernica. It is worth watching out for the temporary exhibitions where you can see the latest contemporary trends. In 2005 a striking extension was added designed by the architect Jean Nouvel (Santa Isabel, 52. www.museoreinasofia.es).
Caixaforum. Herzog & de Meuron transformed the old Mediodía Electric power station into a top cultural centre that rises up from the pavement. It has a fabulous vertical garden landscaped by French botanist Patrick Blanc (Paseo del Prado, 36. http://obrasocial.lacaixa.es/).
Mapfre Foundation. Throughout the year, first-class exhibitions are held here in association with the world’s top museums. Its own collection is particularly oriented in contemporary photography. (Paseo de Recoletos, 23. www.fundacionmapfre.org).
Casa de America. Its cultural agenda is one of the busiest in Madrid. The former palace, belonging to the Marquis of Linares, also has a curious legend: it is said that the building is haunted by its former occupants who still walk through its rooms (Plaza de la Cibeles, 2. www.casamerica.es).
Archaeological Museum. The most outstanding of its kind in Spain. Recently refurbished, it exhibits important pieces of Iberian culture such as the Lady of Elche and the seated statue of Livia. It also houses the National Library, another place in which to contemplate the history of Spain. (Serrano, 13. http://man.mcu.es/).
Three of Madrid’s most charming and unique museums are right next to the Hotel Villa Magna. In the Sorolla Museum you can discover the sunlit work of the Valencian painter, in what was his house and studio. (P. Gral. Martínez Campos, 37. http://museosorolla.mcu.es). A private museum, the Lázaro Galdiano Museum, located in a grand palace, boasts a wide and diverse collection, encyclopaedically structured and with examples of paintings from all over Europe (Serrano, 122. www.flg.es). The Juan March Foundation was the first in Spain to organise international modern and contemporary art exhibitions, of a consistently high standard and which are complemented by noteworthy chamber music concerts (Castelló, 77. www.march.es).
The Carlos de Amberes Foundation is worth visiting just for one work of art: the magnificent oil painting, The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew by Rubens (Claudio Coello, 99. www.fcamberes.org). Located in a Rationalist building, the Museo del Traje (Clothing Museum) offers a fascinating journey through the history of fashion (Av de Juan de Herrera, 2. http://museodeltraje.mcu.es). The original ABC Museum exhibits a unique collection of illustrations published in the press, drawings and comics. (Amaniel, 29. http://museo.abc.es). Next to the Retiro Park, the Real Fábrica de Tapices (Royal Tapestry Factory) preserves the legacy of the old masters of the loom (Fuenterrabía, 2. www.realfabricadetapices.com). Near the Hotel Villa Magna is the Public Art Museum of Madrid, where works are on display on the steps between Paseo de la Castellana and Calle Serrano, for everyone to enjoy. There are 17 abstract sculptures such as the solid and yet light Stranded Mermaid by Eduardo Chillida. The day can be rounded off at the oldest building in Madrid, the Temple of Debod, which was a donation from Egypt to thank Spain for its assistance in the construction of the Aswan dam. The sunsets seen from this spot are extremely breathtaking.
A Collector’s Passion
The antique shops and auction rooms around Calle Velázquez and the streets around the Retiro Park are art galleries in themselves where small ornamental treasures abound and where there is always the chance to discover a gem. Two of the top establishments are Ansorena, which started out as a jeweller’s (Alcalá, 52. www.ansorena.com), and the Alcalá Subastas auction rooms (Núñez de Balboa, 9. www.alcalasubastas.es). To find out what’s new in contemporary art, just cross Paseo la Castellana and walk around the great art galleries such as Juana de Aizpuru, in the Salesas neighbourhood (Barquillo, 44. www.juanadeaizpuru.com), and Helga de Alvear, next to the Reina Sofía Museum (Doctor Fourquet, 12. www.helgadealvear.com), to name just two of the many galleries here. The best way to see all of them together and enjoy a full perspective of the contemporary market is to visit the art fair, Arco, which is held in the Ifema pavilion rooms in February (www.ifema.es/arcomadrid_01/).