A place travelers can visit El Prado National Museum
Reviews: El Prado National Museum
General description: El Prado National MuseumThe Museo Nacional del Prado
The architect Juan de Villanueva started building the Prado ("meadow") in Neoclassical style in 1785 on the orders of Carlos III.
Spanish Paintings at the Prado
The building contains works from the 12th to 19th centuries, with the main focus being on Spanish painting. The Prado has the world's most extensive collection of works by El Greco (1541-1614), Velázquez (1599-1660) and Goya (1746-1828), as well as works by Velázquez' contemporaries José de Ribera, Francisco de Zurbarán and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. There are also outstanding works by the Flemish painters Hieronymus Bosch, Rubens and Brueghel, the Germans Dürer and Cranach, the Italians Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto and Caravaggio, as well as hundreds of other painters.
Exploring the Prado
The drama of a museum such as the Prado lies in its size, the sheer quantity of art which competes for the visitor's attention. The Prado possesses more than 7,500 works, of which one-third are on display. What the first-time visitor needs is orientation. You can simply drift through the rooms, follow the masses, or look for those rooms which are quietest. But - what do you need to see? Making any shortlist at all is unfair, but if you're willing to accept guidance, don't miss the following works: "Las Meninas" (Maids of Honour) by Diego de Velázquez. Art historians are fascinated by the painter's perspective. Velázquez included himself in the foreground of the painting, slightly in shadow whilst, in the background, the royal couple Philip IV and Maria Anna can be seen reflected in a mirror. It doesn't look as if the painter is letting us see him from the perspective of the depicted royal couple. But Velázquez has painted the scenery as if reflected in a mirror - as if he is watching himself at work in a mirror. It is a reflection on art in art. "El Jardín de las Delicias" (The Garden of Earthly Delights) by Hieronymus Bosch. The accepted interpretation of this three-panelled painting, created around 1500 is that Bosch ("El Bosco" in Spanish) wanted to depict Heaven, the sinner and the punishments of Hell in his uniquely, wild imagery. The German art historian Hans Belting has a different opinion. In the beautiful illustrated book "Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights" he convincingly explains his thesis that, in the central section of his painting, Bosch has actually depicted innocent man, at one with Nature, who is incapable of sinning. "Perro semihundido" (The Dog) by Francisco Goya. Those who have seen the sad gaze of the little dog in the lower corner of the picture will never forget it. It is one of Goya's late "black" paintings. You should also take a look at his famous "Executions of 3 May 1808", the merciless group portrait "The Family of Carlos IV", the "Clothed Maja" and the "Nude Maja". Other highlights are: Caravaggio's "David, Victorious over Goliath", Peter Paul Rubens' "Three Graces", Fra Angelico's "Anunciation", Albrecht Dürer's self-portrait, and El Greco's "Crucifixion".
Visiting the Prado
A large annexe to the rear of the Prado was opened in 2007 which is supposed to go hand in hand with a reorganisation of the collection. When entering the museum, pick up a floor plan and ask to be shown where the pictures that you want to see are hanging.
- Tues to Sun: 9am – 8pm
- Closed: On Mondays throughout the year
- General: €10
- General admission + official guide: €19.50
- Reduced: €5
- Students, under 18s, unemployed, disabilites, teachers etc.: Free
- Website: http://www.museodelprado.es/en
One of the world's most important picture galleries.