FORMER James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan admits he was left 'open-mouthed' after a visit to Madrid's El Prado art museum, one of the city's 'big three' along with the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemizsa.
The Irish 007 star also went to the Reina Sofía and took a 'selfie' next to Pablo Picasso's iconic, distressing and huge Civil War painting, Guernika, which he uploaded onto Instagram.
Brosnan spent most of his time in the Prado admiring the exhibition of paintings by Ingres, which he described as 'astonishing'.
“Sexy, huge, and left me open-mouthed,” the film star wrote.
The Reina Sofía management tweeted: “Today, our Guernika has had a silver-screen visit: From Pierce Brosnan.”
But his photo in front of the painting sparked criticism from Twitter users, complaining that 'ordinary' visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the museum.
The Reina Sofía apologised for anyone who had been upset by seeing the photo, but stressed it was a PR exercise aimed at promoting the museum and putting it on the map.
“It was taken as an exception, using a mobile phone and without interfering with the public's enjoyment,” the management wrote, adding that it would have been silly not to take advantage of such a huge star's potential for 'advertising' the well-known gallery beyond Spain's borders.
The museum's ban on photographs is partly to ensure the paintings are not damaged through flashes, and to avoid the flood of complaints which would arise if nobody could get near enough to see them because of the 'avalanche' of mobile phones held up, obscuring the view, and members of the public posing in front of them.
Brosnan's comments about the Prado museum were much more positively received, however – many Spanish users encouraged him to take a closer look at the paintings of top national artists from history, such as Velázquez and Goya, on his next visit there, or to take a trip to the world-famous Alhambra Palace in Granada.
Photograph from Reina Sofía Museum's Twitter site, @MuseoReinaSofía