Profile - Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) is an organization dependant on the Ministry of Culture.
Our main aim is to encourage public access to the various manifestations of modern and contemporary art in order to increase knowledge, promote development, and favour the social communication of art
The most important function of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is to exhibit our cultural holdings in such a manner as to allow contemplation and study as well as guarantee their protection, conservation and restoration, to hold temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, to organize events and activities related to the works on display for the purposes of promotion, education and research as well as establish collaboration networks with other museums and institutions.
On September 10th 1992, their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía opened the Permanent Collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. What had previously been host to temporary exhibitions was now a true museum, with the task of looking after, increasing and exhibiting its artistic collections.
The building that is the home of the MNCARS, however, dates back many years. In 1566, during the reign of Felipe II, the idea arose of bringing the many different centres and hospices scattered around the city of Madrid together under one roof and thirty years later, during the reign of Felipe III, the first shelter was opened on Calle Santa Isabel. Other installations were then added to this shelter, including Hospital de Santa Catalina and Hospital de la Pasión, and the complex formed as a result was named Hospital General. After some difficulties, during the second half of the eighteenth century, Carlos III commissioned the architect Francisco Sabatini to take over a hospital project started by Hermosilla, conceived during the reign of Fernando VI. Sabatini, however, could not complete the building, managing to construct only part of that foreseen in the original plans.
From that time, the Hospital has undergone several modifications and additions, managing to survive demands for its demolition by way of a Royal Decree in 1977 that declared it a national historical and artistic monument.
In 1980, Antonio Fernández Alba began work to restore the building and at the end of 1988, José Luis Iñíguez de Onzoño and Antonio Vázquez de Castro put the final touches to the modifications, among which the three glass and steel lift towers, designed in collaboration with British architect Ian Ritchie, are of particular interest.
Two years before, in 1986, some areas of the building, then known as Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, were opened, used at that time only for hosting temporary activities under the watchful eye of Carmen Giménez, head of the National Exhibition Centre of the Ministry of Culture.
Soon after, in 1988, a Royal Decree turned the Centre into a National Museum to replace the former Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo (MEAC). The institution’s first director, who held the position from June 1988 to December 1990, was Tomás Llorens.
Since June 7th, 2004, Ana Martínez de Aguilar has held the position as director of the museum.



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