on March 27, 2007
The Guernica gave me goosebumps.We were fortunate that our visit to the Reina Sofia coincided with a special Picasso exhibition celebrating the 25th year since the Guernica had been turned over to Spain from New York's Museum of Modern Art. Before we arrived at the Guernica, we saw a trio of works that prepared us for the big moment. Francisco de Goya's El 3 de Mayo, Manet's The Execution of Maximillian and Picasso's Masacre en Corea (the latter two on loan from the Mannheim and Paris) were displayed in a triangle. As I listened to the audio commentary on my headset, I felt my heart go still with pain. Then I turned around and there was the Guernica, larger that I could have imagined. Towering in front of me was the testament to Picasso's passionate but thoughtful anger, a rage controlled and focused in each face, each form on the canvas. I could not help but think of the barbaric moments in history of which my own people had been victims, thorough wartime and periods of oppression. An image came to my mind of Picasso, the man, shaking with frustration about the news of Guernica's bombardment. I am no art connoiseur, but I suppose that is the mark of truly great artwork - if it manages to communicate across cultures and borders and without language - what the artist must have felt.There were memorable works in the rest of the building - this old hospital transformed into an art museum. The Dalis and Miros were exciting to see. But long after we left the museum, it was the Guernica I remembered.The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (or just "Reina Sofia") is open from Monday to Saturday (except Tuesday, when it is closed) from 10am to 9pm. On Sundays it is open from 10am to 2pm. Admission is free for all on Saturdays after 2:30 and on Sundays. Admission is 6 euros for adults; 3 for students with the right ID. Tel. 91 774 1000. The Guernica and the Goya is part of the museum's permanent collection; Masacre en Corea and the Manet I mentioned are not.Anyone who is interested in modern art and is passionate about history should see the Guernica if they find themselves in Madrid.
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