By Nancy Todd
Is it a prison? Is it a shopping mall in Memphis? As I walked along side of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, bars striped the windows. Turning the corner to the stark front facade, I was greeted by a Joan Miró sculpture diluting yet more bars on more windows.
This museum was a hospital in the 1700s and I am guessing a mental hospital. I felt like I belonged in a mental hospital as I tried to find my way.
On a mission, I had a short period of time to see the “Guernica” painting by Picasso. My initial stop was for my first caffeine hit of the day as I staggered about to find the Reina Sophia Museum Cafe. Signs, when you could find them, were 15-feet high with one-inch white letters on a light gray background.
With no binoculars, I asked several guards where the cafe was. Up, down, through archways and the center mall-like area with the Lichtenstein. I needed The Blog Dog with her GPS. By this point, with no morning cuppa joe, I was a crazed woman darting about and finally groped my way into the cafe. Sitting in the dim cafe with three lights, I thought I was on a flying saucer with the red swooping ceiling overhead. Maybe I was losing it. Another cup of coffee helped.
Back to the outside mall area to admire the Lichtenstein and another 15 minutes traipsing about to find the “Guernica.” The museum isn’t that big. I just kept getting lost and the clock was ticking. I found “Guernica,” one of the most moving pieces of art I have ever seen. Every person who is a decision maker for war needs to spend an hour with this painting. The mall trip had been worth it.
When you visit, hang in there. The Reina Sophia Museum has a superb collection and is worth the zigzagging about. Find twenty paintings by Dalí including: “El Gran Masturbador.” A gallery devoted to Joan Miró, another to Picasso. War photographs. Beautiful sculpture garden. Excellent museum store and a library for your browsing. No, you are not in a mental hospital.
More on the museum and tickets here: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en