Highlights of the museum include excellent collections of Spain's two greatest 20th century masters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. Certainly the most famous masterpiece in the museum is Picasso's great painting Guernica. The Reina Sofia also has fine collections of the works of Juan Gris, Joan Miro, and many other significant artists.
The central building of the museum was an 18th century hospital. Extensive modern renovations and additions to the old building were made starting in 1980. In 1988 portions of the new museum were opened to the public, mostly in temporary configurations; that same year it was decreed a national museum. The museum was officially inaugurated on September 10, 1992. It is named for Queen Sofia of Spain.