Spectacular summer art season in Madrid

Madrid is one of the art capitals of Europe, and each season the city’s big three art museums host major exhibitions. This summer looks like it’s going to be an especially good one.

Perhaps the biggest show of the season is the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum’s show on Matisse. Running from June 9 to September 20, it focuses on the work the famous painter and sculptor did in the middle part of his life. In the 1920s he and Picasso were at the vanguard of making modern art acceptable to the general public, and in the 1930s Matisse’s work became more inward-looking as the Depression, the buildup to World War Two, and the invasion of France took their psychological toll.

The Prado will has a show focusing on the Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla, who in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became one of Spain’s best-loved painters with his brilliant images of sun-soaked gardens and beaches. This show runs from May 26-September 6. One of his paintings, titled “Walk on the Beach”, is shown here. If you like his style, you might also want to check out his house, which is now a museum showcasing his life and work.

If modern art is more your thing, check out the Reina Sofia, Madrid’s home for modern and contemporary art. Their big show this summer will be Los Esquizos de Madrid, an art movement that flourished in Spain’s capital in the Seventies as the country made the transition from dictatorship under Franco to a fragile multiparty democracy. This movement embraced figurative art at a time when the rest of the European art world seemed have abandoned it.

The Reina Sofia will also have an exhibition by Lebanese artist Walid Raad, who created The Atlas Group, an art movement of one. His work explores censorship and the Lebanese Civil War though various media and will be open from June 3 to August 31.