Following up on the Art Museums in Spain post, both in terms of its relevance and my likeness, my first choice is the Prado Museum in Madrid, which was publicly open for the first time in 1815 in its current building at Paseo del Prado, one of the main avenues of the city. It is 18th most visited art museum in the world and exhibits works from the XIV through the XIX century, mainly paintings European Masters.
The main collection of “el Museo” can be accessed for free in the last two opening hours of the day. Monday to Saturday, 6pm – 8pm; and Sundays and holidays, 5pm – 7pm. There is also a 50% discount on the temporary exhibition fee during these time intervals.
According to the website of the museum, their main artworks and artists (in chronological order) are: “The Fountain of Grace” by the School of Jan Van Eyck, “Saint Dominic Presides over an Auto de Fe” by Pedro Berruguete, “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Bosch, “The Nobleman with his hand on his Chest” by El Greco, “Death of the Virgin” by Mantegna, “The Holy Family” known as “The Pearl” by Raphael, “Emperor Carlos V on Horseback” by Titian, “The Foot Washing” by Tintoretto, Self-portrait by Dürer , “Las Meninas” by Velázquez, “The Three Graces” by Rubens, and “The Family of Carlos IV” by Goya.
The inventory of the Prado reaches around 27000 objects, being around 8000 of them paintings. Other works include drawings, sculptures, prints, medallions, coins, and maps. Many of them were obtained through bequests, donations and purchases after its opening. Around 1300 artworks are exposed, almost all of them being paintings. The museum also possesses a research area with a library, an archive, a documentation service, and a restoration workshop.
In the surroundings of the Museum we find three statues of our “Maestros” (Masters) Velazquez, Goya and Murillo, as well as the beautiful Church of San Jeronimo el Real (also known as “Los Jerónimos”), dating from the 16th century, built as a part of a Monastery, and having hold many monarch weddings.
Interestingly, when browsing the Museum’s website, in the ‘Visit’ section, there are recommended tours depending on the duration of your visit (one, two or three hours). Obviously, you can spend a much longer time in it, but it is a valuable resource for those with less time or willingness to explore it.
As I introduced in my first post about museums, there are quality temporary exhibitions in “El Prado” and taking advantage of them I visit it at least once a year. Each time, I re-see the best works from Velazquez and Goya. Besides the highlighted works at the beginning of this text, others I highlight from these geniuses are: “The Surrender of Breda” and “Gaspar de Guzman, Count-Duke of Olivares, on Horseback” by Velazquez, and “May 3 1808” and the two (Clothed and Nude) “Majas” by Goya.
The main current temporary is around Rubens’ sketches. The next most important one is around Lorenzo Lotto, a relevant Italian artist from the XVI century.
Have you visited “El Prado”? What is your favourite paint? And artist? Any temporary exhibition to highlight? Lessons about Spain learnt from it?
Links of Interest
Francisco de Goya (.net), The complete works
Historia-Arte, Diego Velázquez
Muy Interesante, ¿Cuántos cuadros hay en el Museo del Prado? (How many paintings are hold in the Prado Museum?)
Prado Museum, Exhibitions
Prado Museum, History of the Museum
Prado Museum, Recorridos recomendados (“Recommended tours”).
Prado Museum, What’s on
Photos: lateral section of Prado Museum. The Triump of Bacchus, by Velazquez.