Madrid's must-see art exhibitions

Paintings, photography, sculpture... these are the art exhibitions you won't want to miss in Madrid's museums and galleries



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Calling all lovers of painting, photography, sculpture, and art in general: this is your selection of art collections, exhibitions and shows on in Madrid's museums, galleries and cultural centres. Whether they're on for just a few weeks or you have months to check them out, don't miss these top art exhibitions in the city.


©Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Streets and Faces of Berlin

To mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany are paying tribute to the German capital with a selection of 18 masterpieces featuring the city and its inhabitants. The exhibition, included in the museum's permanent collection, focuses especially on  the first third of the 20th century and the flourishing artistic scene in Berlin at that time, which attracted artists such as George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Christian Schad and Max Beckmann, also thanks to the lively cultural life and free spirit, making Berlin a meeting point for the European avant-gardes. A second part of the exhibition is dedicated to those living in Berlin, whose faces reflect the frenetic social changes experienced over the years. To complete the homage, the Puerta de Alcalá will be lit up the 7th, 8th and 9th of November to simulate the Brandenburg Gate, and Madrid's Goethe Institut will host a programme of activities, including lectures and film showings.

  1. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Palacio de Villahermosa. Paseo del Prado 8, 28014
  2. Until Sun Jan 25
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Mediterráneo. Del mito a la razón

The relationship between men and gods, and even among men themselves, is the focus of this show at the CaixaForum. With the Mediterranean and its coasts as the focus, the exhibition is based on questioning the need for the gods to decipher the mysteries of the cosmos; the organization of cities around a central common space – the main square, the forum – as a favorable place to meet and talk with each other, and a new consideration of the person replacing the power of the warrior with the inner strength of the philosopher happened in the ancient Greco-Roman world. Thanks to these ideas, new ways to interpret the gods and to relate to them came about, sometimes revealing as much admiration as desire for destruction. This archaeological exhibition combines myth with real history through 165 works of Greco-Roman antiquity, from sculptures, reliefs and pottery to jewellery that have come from various European museums to show the will of the Mediterranean man to go beyond the past, facing his destiny, regardless of the gods, and wondering about the foundation of the world and its relevance to human needs.

  1. CaixaForum Paseo del Prado, 36, 28014
  2. Until Mon Jan 5
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'Metamorfosis' presents the work of four key figures in the world of film animation: the Polish pioneer born in Russia and based in Paris Ladislas Starewitch (1982-1965), the Czech master Jan Švankmajer (1934) and the Quay twins (1947), born in Pennsylvania (USA) and resident in London for three decades. The three filmographies are singular in themselves yet still have a lot in common: an eccentric dreamy universe, where innocence, cruelty, lust, magic and madness live together; a haunting, poetic and lucid landscape, sometimes grotesque and sometimes spooky, with characters who love the unproductive and the futile. Sessions, workshops and meetings with the artists round out the exhibition.

  1. La Casa Encendida Ronda de Valencia 2, 28012
  2. Until Sun Jan 11
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El Rostro de las Letras

It's the perfect exhibition for art lovers as well as fans of literature. 'El rostro de las letras. Escritores y fotógrafos en España desde el Romanticismo hasta la Generación de 1914' ('The face of words. Writers and photographers in Spain from Romanticism to the Generation of 1914') is part of the celebrations of the Real Academia Española for its tricentennial. Through more than 200 photographs, books and documents, the exhibition shows scenes of public and private lives of various personalities in Spanish cultural society, such as Azorín, Baroja, Marañón, Ortega y Gasset, Rosalía de Castro and Unamuno, among others. (read more)

  1. Sala Alcalá 31 Alcalá, 31, 28014
  2. Until Sun Jan 11
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Sorolla & the United States

It's no secret that Joaquín Sorolla was a great success in the USA. The Valencian painter lived across the pond one in of the most important periods as far ash is artistic career was concerned, managing to exhibit at the Hispanic Society of America, among other spaces. Under the patronage of this institution, he later presented his works in Boston and Buffalo. Two years later, exhibitions in Chicago and St. Louis followed. His elegant portraits, landscapes of warm beaches lapped by ocean waves, and beautiful gardens wowed critics and the public in the States at the time. Now, thanks to a collaboration between The Meadows Museum, The San Diego Museum of Art and the Fundación Mapfre, art lovers in Madrid have the chance to see some of Sorolla's works bought by American collectors and museums that have never before been exhibited in Spain. Until now. 

  1. Fundación Mapfre Paseo de Recoletos, 23, 28004
  2. Until Sun Jan 11
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EFE, 75 Years in Photos

  • Free

The Casa del Lector in Matadero Madrid is hosting an exhibition about the history of journalism in Spain. The EFE news agency is celebrating its 75th anniversary as the most important news outlet in the country, and the fourth worldwide. In addition to images from some of the most important events in the past decade, the show will feature different interactive and technological elements. For example, the first mobile unit used by the EFE Agency will be on display. They re-created the original design as well an old analog photograph laboratory.

  1. Matadero Madrid Plaza de Legazpi, 8, 28045
  2. Until Thu Jan 15
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Depero futurista

Italian Futurism, the avant-garde of the avant-garde, comes to Madrid via this exhibition that the Juan March Foundation has dedicated to the artist Fortunato Depero (Fondo, Trento province, 1892 – Rovereto, 1960). Through more than 200 pieces including paintings, drawings, tapestries, sculptures, photographs, and more, from various international institutions and collections – both public and private – the exhibition aims to reflect the artist's entire body of work, 'Tutto Depero', as he referred to it.

  1. Fundación Juan March Castelló 77, 28006
  2. Until Sun Jan 18
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Hubert de Givenchy

After cancelling an exhibition planned for October 2014, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has found a quality replacement. French designer Hubert de Givenchy will be the star of this exhibition showing off his best creations. The show also marks the museum's first foray into the world of fashion. The exhibition is curated by Givenchy himself, so it offers a singular approach to his collections over the half century since the house was founded in 1952 in Paris at the Maison Givenchy up through his professional retirement in 1996. The dresses he designed for some of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, including Jacqueline Kennedy, the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Caroline of Monaco, and his muse and friend, Audrey Hepburn, who he dressed in such films as 'Sabrina' and 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', will be showing alongside a group of works from the Thyssen collection from different periods and styles.

  1. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Palacio de Villahermosa. Paseo del Prado 8, 28014
  2. Until Sun Jan 18
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Las Ánimas de Bernini (Bernini's 'Souls')

If there ever was a sculptor who was detailed in his work and able to represent grandeur and delicacy at once in each of his creations, it had to be Bernini. The Prado Museum is home to the first exhibition in Madrid that is dedicated and pays tribute to this amazing sculptor, architect and painter. The museum brings the sculptures 'Anima Beata' and 'Anima Dannata' to town for the occasion. Both were commissioned to Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Naples, 1598 – Rome, 1680) by Pedro Foix de Montoya. Today they are in the Palace of Spain, seat of the Embassy of Spain in the Vatican, and are on loan for the exhibition. 

  1. Museo del Prado Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014
  2. Until Sun Feb 8
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Impresionismo americano

Following the exhibition of French Impressionism, organised by art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel in New York in 1886, American artists began to use the new brush-strokes, bright colours and fleeting effects of the French movement; many of them even decided to travel to Paris to study Impressionism firsthand. This exhibition, organised by the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny and the Terra Foundation for American Art, in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland and Madrid's own Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, represents the first time an exhibition dedicated to the expansion of Impressionism in the USA is shown in Spain. Via more than 60 paintings by American artists, you can discover how they interpreted and adapted Impressionism between the 1880s and 1890s and its subsequent development by 1900.

  1. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Palacio de Villahermosa. Paseo del Prado 8, 28014
  2. Until Sun Feb 1
More info

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