Reina Sofia Museum Tour: A Guided Crash Course with Skip-the-Line Tickets

Connect with Dalís and Picassos (including Guernica) in Spain's foremost contemporary art museum
From US$350 privately
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Tour Details
2.5 hours
Product Type
Reina Sofia Museum
Photos & Highlights
  • Explores highlights of the museum including Picasso's masterpiece, Guernica
  • Led by a local art historian
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Tour Description
The Reina Sofía is one of Madrid's most important museums and houses a fascinating collection of over 21,000 pieces. The main focus of the museum is Modernist 20th-century art, including seminal works by Miró and Salvador Dalí, as well as Picasso's world-changing Guernica. On this 2.5-hour Reina Sofía private tour, we will join a local art historian with skip-the-line tickets to explore this fascinating collection. Beyond simply appreciating each work on its own, we will look closely at the political and social events that shaped this period of Spain's history and attempt to contextualize the art within its time.

Private Reina Sofia Museum Tour

We’ll begin with an introduction to Spain and the art world at the turn of the 20th century, considering the important role played by Spanish artists in the wave of avant-garde movements that became emblematic of the period. We'll examine work from Picasso and Juan Gris in relation to Cubism, to Dalí and Miró’s contributions to Surrealism.

Please note: the fourth floor of the Reina Sofia is currently closed for construction work. Your guide will focus on the other floors of the museum, such as the second floor, which focuses on the period from 1898 during the Spanish American War up until WW2.

Guernica in Context

Undoubtedly the most imposing and emblematic work found in the Reina Sofia is Picasso’s haunting masterpiece Guernica, the museum's centerpiece, chronicling the artistic response to the Spanish Civil War (for more on this era and the rise of fascism in Spain, try our Spanish Civil War tour). As we marvel at the sheer scale of the painting, our guide will explain the bombing that inspired it, talk us through the different elements and the myriad of interpretations that have been applied to them, discuss the painting’s journey through Europe and beyond, and consider how it has become an allegory for the horrors of war. We will also examine the other works exhibited alongside it in Paris in 1937, and how art was used by the government as a means of drawing international attention to the bitter conflict that had erupted in Spain in 1936, whose effects are still profoundly felt in Madrid's art and society today.

Reina Sofia Museum with an Expert

We may then move on to the post-war period (both the Civil War and WWII), addressing the increasing prominence of American art as well as how the climate of the Franco dictatorship influenced the development of artists in Spain and led to the formation of artistic collectives such as the El Paso group and the Dau al Set.

We’ll conclude our private tour of the Reina Sofia on the lower floors of the museum, where the most modern works in the collection can be found, to see how Spanish art has evolved across the second half of the 20th century into the present day, branching out into other mediums and experimental techniques.

Take Aways

At the conclusion of the tour, you will come away with a more robust knowledge of Spanish artists of the 20th century, along with an insight into their influences and evolution within the wider sociocultural context of when they operated, and an appreciation of the continued relevance of their work today.

FAQ About the Reina Sofia Museum Private Tour

What are skip-the-line tickets?
For this tour, your tickets are pre-purchased which allows you to skip the ticket office line upon arrival at the museum. You may still have to wait in a security line or in a line to have your pre-purchased ticket scanned.   

Is this tour wheelchair-accessible? 
The museum is fully wheelchair accessible throughout. Please contact us to discuss in more detail your mobility concerns so that we can best advise.

Is this tour appropriate for children? 
This walk is not a part of our official family program. That said, we may be able to arrange a visit with a family-friendly guide. Please contact us if you would like to explore this option.

I am interested in taking your Spanish Civil War tour, which I see also visits the Reina Sofia. Will there be overlap? 
Our Spanish Civil War tour does indeed visit the Reina Sofia, to discuss Guernica in the context of the war. There will be overlap in that respect. Should you like to book the civil war tour privately, we can adjust the content so that there is no overlap.
Where You'll Start
(4.79) 66 Reviews

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Carlos went above and beyond, providing us with recommendations of what else to see and do in Madrid as well as recommendations on where to dine.
Vanessa was very informative. She really brought the works to life with the history and background she provided. Very kind and patient
excellent, passionate, highly informative tour