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El Prado Museum
Museo Del Prado
On November 19 last year, one of the most important art galleries in the world, the Prado Museum, held its 200th anniversary. 200 years have passed since Madrid witnessed the birth of this museum that has already become known all over the world for its history and the importance of the works of art it houses, both permanently and for its travelling exhibitions.
The Madrid of 1819 when King Carlos III—who many people consider to be the best mayor the city has had—undertook urban development designed by the architect, Juan de Villanueva. It involved big changes and remodelling the city from the Cibeles Fountain to Atocha. For the era we are talking about, it was an avant-garde project which represented a great advance for the city.
Carlos III’s original idea was for it to become the headquarters of the Royal Cabinet of Natural History, but—with the invasion of Napoleon’s forces—the idea emerged to create a museum of the Court, similar to others that existed in Europe, and it ended up opening to the public in 1819. It should be added that, in the beginning, it was called the 'Royal Museum of Paintings', then, the 'National Museum of Painting and Sculpture' and, since 1920, the Prado Museum, as we know it today.
The main aim of this museum was, from the very beginning, to teach the world about Spain’s cultural and artistic heritage. Artists like Diego de Velázquez and Francisco de Goya gave “kudos” to our national status.
In the present day, the Prado Museum comprises a museum campus consisting of several buildings located in the heart of the city of Madrid: the Villanueva building, the Church of the Jeronimos, the Casón del Buen Retiro, the administrative building on Ruiz de Alarcón Street and the Kingdom Hall of the Buen Retiro Palace, which was recently added to the previous ones.
In 2007, the biggest extension in its history was finished, carried out by the architect Rafael Moneo, whose plan added a new building built around the restored Cloister of the Jeronimos. In parallel, in 2009, the Casón del Buen Retiro was opened as the headquarters of the Study Center, which integrates the conservation departments together with the library, archiving and documentation services along with the Prado School.
It is a museum with a very long history. Here are some unusual facts about it:
- It is ranked 13th among the most popular museums in the world and received 2,824,000 visitors in 2018.
- It houses a total of 7,000 paintings
- Pablo Picasso was Director of the Museum between 1936 and 1939.
- It was the first home of Guernica, one of the best-known works internationally.
- The museum houses the world’s greatest collection of works by Goya, with a total of 152 works.
- In total, 1,150 paintings hang from its walls
- It possesses more than 27,000 artistic objects that are not on show.
- It covers 42,000 m².
- The first work that the museum purchased was «La Trinidad» by Ribera, in 1835, and the last work to be incorporated into the museum was «Cristo Resucitado», by Giulio Clovio on October 31, 2019.
- The museum’s most expensive purchase is a painting by Velázquez titled «The Pope’s Barber» which cost €23m in 2003.
In 2019, the Prado Museum received the famous Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, an award for which there were 29 nominations from 14 different nations. According to the jury, it was awarded to the Prado Museum for being a symbol of our common cultural heritage and for contributing to the humanistic development of past, present and future society.
The Prado Museum is located in Ruiz de Alarcón Street, 23, in Madrid. It is open every day of the week between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The price of entry is €15, but for the last two hours of each day, you can enter for free. In addition, there are two other dates during the year on which access is free: International Museum Day (May 18) and the Anniversary of the Prado Museum (November 19).
THE 10 MOST IMPORTANT PERMANENT WORKS IN THE HISTORY OF THE PRADO.
The Crucifixion, Juan de Flandes (1509-1519). Hall 057
The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest, El Greco (c.1580): Hall 008B
Las Meninas, Diego Velázquez, (1656). Hall 012
Jacob’s Dream, José de Ribera (1639). Hall 009
The Third of May, 1808, Francisco de Goya (1814). Hall 064
The Annunciation, Fra Angelico (1425-1426). Hall 56B
The Cardinal, Rafael (1510-1511). Hall 049
Carlos V at the Battle of Mühlberg, Tiziano (1548). Hall 027
The Immaculate Conception, Giambattista Tiepolo (1767-1769). Hall 019
The Descent from the Cross, Rogier van der Weyden (1443). Hall 058Read more Close