MADRID – The Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Museums, known as the Triangle of Art, reopened on Saturday in Spain’s capital under strict new rules and with fewer visitors than normal.
After an almost three-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic which has battered Madrid, the first visitors trickled into the renowned art museums to admire their iconic collections.
The galleries reopened with a third of their capacity, and in the case of the Prado and Reina Sofia, only with a selection of rooms.
The Prado, used to receiving an average of 9,000 people a day, will now be allowing 1,800 visitors in at most.
Spain’s main national art museum reopened in style, with a ceremonial unveiling of a historic exhibition that brings together the greatest hits of the collection in a few rooms.
The first Prado visitor, Raul, Minister of Culture Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes and Javier Solana, President of the Board of Trustees, unfurled a banner with the slogan Reunited over the Goya entrance.
A string quintet from the Madrid Regional Orchestra performed Ode to Joy in Las Meninas room where Velazquez’s groundbreaking painting hangs.
Carmen Montero, a woman visiting the Prado with her three children, her teenage niece and her husband, was delighted with their visit.
“I do not like this situation because of the museum,” she tells EFE. “I know that this has to be enjoyed by the more people the better, but it is a unique experience.”
Before the Thyssen officially opened, the queue outside wrapped the building and traveled up the nearby Carrera de San Jeronimo as culture vultures eagerly awaited their first dose of art in ages.
Inside the atmosphere was tranquil.
Edward Hopper’s Hotel room and Les Vessenots en Auvers by Van Gogh could be enjoyed in solitude, a truly remarkable experience.
In the museum shop, masks printed with Rothko, Delaunay and Mondrian paintings enticed visitors to up the style stakes whilst adhering to the new rule in Spain urging residents to sport masks at all times when a 2-meter distance with others cannot be kept.
The strict social distancing measures have allowed for a unique viewing experience for art enthusiasts.
At the Reina Sofia only 30 people can admire Picasso’s Guernica at the same time, something that would have been unthinkable pre-pandemic.