Visitors at the main entrance to the Malaga Picasso Museum on Calle San Agustín. / SUR

Malaga museums report post-Covid recovery in visitor numbers

The city's Malaga Picasso Museum recorded 641,000 people through its doors in 2022, close to its historical record, while the Thyssen and CAC also saw an increase in visitors

FRANCISCO GRIÑÁN MALAGA.

A strong post-Covid-19 recovery in visitor numbers to the Malaga city museums has been recorded for 2022. Among them, the Malaga Picasso Museum (MPM) stands out, which not only retained its title as the most visited exhibition centre in Andalucía last year, but also registered an unexpected attendance of 641,216 visitors, a spectacular increase of 156 per cent compared to 2021, when it had 250,000 visitors.

Visitor numbers for the MPM were followed by the Carmen Thyssen Museum, which last year welcomed 157,000 people to its galleries (up 54 per cent), while the CAC Malaga also passed the 100,000 mark with a more moderate 7.5 per cent increase in visits. The MPM had 703,807 visitors in 2019, the year before the Covid-19 outbreak.

José Lebrero, director of the MPM, told SUR that this massive return to art and art galleries is "one of the positive effects of the pandemic" as the population has paid "attention to culture as a way of feeling better in the world". Lebrero added that he was pleased that "the good tourist results that have occurred during 2022 have found a corresponding echo in the museum".

The MPM rise in footfall has surpassed the increases of the major museums in Madrid, which recorded an increase of 115 per cent at the Prado and 86% per cent at the Reina Sofía. Lebrero praised his team for offering "educational programmes attentive to the diversity of audiences that visit us” in reference to the major temporary exhibitions in 2022: 'Face to face. Picasso and the Old Masters' and the retrospective of the Portuguese artist Paula Rego.

This year the MPM celebrates the 20th anniversary of the museum and the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Picasso and hopes to welcome more than 700,000 visitors. Two major exhibitions will run, forming part of the official events promoted by Spain and France for the programme 'Celebration Picasso 1973-2023'.