Museo del Prado has one of the World’s Finest Collections of European Art:
Madrid’s Prado Museum is one of the most visited tourist spots in this city. The Prado is home to over 7,600 paintings and thousands of sculptures, prints, drawings and historic documents. Though the Prado’s collections emphasize heavily on the three most famous Spanish masters – Goya, Velázquez and El Greco – there are major and minor masterpieces from dozens of other artists.
Surrounded by beautiful botanical gardens, visitors have the opportunity to spend hours enjoying this early 19th century site and its contents. The museum was completed in 1819 and the bulk of the early collection was drawn from paintings gathered by Spanish nobility.
With the opening of a new wing, the Prado has considerably expanded its museum exhibits of Spanish paintings. From the Romanesque to the Renaissance, art lovers will be able to add to the list of works worth seeing those that have long been held in storage.
The Museo del Prado is well worth at least a day-long stroll. Apart from the aforementioned Spanish masters, there are numerous works by the Flemish, Dutch, German, French, and Italians. Many of these were acquired by conquest from the time that Spain was one of the leading powers of Europe.
But however they were collected, the works themselves remain timeless examples of what artists in any era can achieve.
Walk through the ‘Goya entrance’, on the ground floor at the start of your journey and pause to enjoy the masterpiece of Fra Angelico, La Anunciación a la Virgen María. Not far away are some other excellent Italian works – by Botticelli, Mantegna, del Sarto and Corregio. Don’t miss Titian’s Venus.
Carry on to see a number of works by Bosch, possibly the world’s first surrealist. There’s the Garden of Earthly Delights, the Seven Deadly Sins, and others. Centuries ahead of his time, these 16th century paintings are the product of what can at least be called a ‘vivid imagination’.
On the second floor are several 17th century Flemish, including works by Rubens and van Dyck. Rubens‘ Garden of Love and Three Graces are on display. Nearby are some works by the famed mid-17th century Seville painter Murillo. His three Immaculate Conceptions are among the highlights of the collection.
But unquestionably the star attractions are the major Spanish masters, particularly Goya and El Greco. It is these works that draw the most visitors.
El Greco, though born in Crete (hence the name), lived much of his life in Toledo, Spain. There he produced his John the Baptist, The Adoration of the Shepherds, The Resurrection and others in his distinctive style.
Works of Goya, too, are numerous and display the full range of styles he used over the years. Those painted later in life form some of his most striking. Saturn Devouring One of His Sons is perhaps the most representative of this period. Of course, Goya’s clothed Maja and Naked Maja both continue to draw visitors year after year.
And then too there’s Velázquez. One of the best known works on display at the museum is said to be Las Meninas . Velázquez’ portrait of the infanta Margarita, daughter of Felipe IV (1605-1665), surrounded by her servants or “family” in a hall of Madrid’s Alcázar Palace attracts keen interest.
The Museo del Prado is one of Madrid’s most highly sought out tourist attractions. When you visit this magnificent city, be sure not to miss a visit to this treasure house. The Madrid Card gives you priority access to the Prado.
Monday to Saturday: 10:00 – 20:00
Sunday and holidays: 10:00 – 19:00
Reduced opening hours: 10:00 – 14:00 (January 6, December 24 and 31)
Note: The galleries are cleared 10 minutes before closing.
Museum is closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25
General price: 14 €
General admission + official guide: 23 €
Reduced price: 7 €
The ticket allows the holder to visit the museum collection and temporary exhibitions on the same day.
Museo Nacional del Prado.
Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23
Map of Madrid: