The Museo Nacional del Prado, in Madrid (Spain), is one of the most important in the world, as well as one of the most visited. Singularly rich in paintings by European masters from the 16th to the 19th centuries, according to the historian of art and hispanist Jonathan Brown, “few would dare to question that it is the most important museum in the world in European painting”.
Conceived for Cabinet and Museum of Natural Sciences, the project of the Prado Museum was made by Juan de Villanueva and approved by Carlos III in 1785. Of neoclassical style, its construction was paralyzed until the end of the War of Independence. And it was Fernando VII who inaugurated, in 1819, the then Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture, although he has always wanted to consider his second wife María Isabel de Braganza as its founder.
Currently, in addition to painting and sculpture, the Museum welcomes drawings, engravings, coins, medals and sumptuary arts. However, its great wealth is its eight thousand six hundred paintings, of which only one seventh is exhibited. Among his works, from the royal collections, the Museum of the Trinity and the fund of New Acquisitions, include the collection of Goya, the paintings of Velázquez and Spanish schools, as well as European schools until the late nineteenth century, classic sculptures and the Treasure of the Dolphin.
What to see
Its main attraction lies in the wide presence of Velázquez, El Greco, Goya (the artist most widely represented in the museum), Tiziano, Rubens and Bosch, which has the best and most extensive collections that exist worldwide, to which must be added prominent groups of important authors such as Murillo, Ribera, Zurbarán, Rafael, Veronese, Tintoretto, Van Dyck or Poussin, to name just a few of the most relevant.
The inventory of artistic assets includes, as of February 2017, more than 35,000 objects, broken down into 8045 paintings, 10 219 drawings, 6159 engravings and 34 stamping dies, 971 sculptures (in addition to 154 fragments), 1189 pieces of decorative arts, 38 weapons and armor, 2155 medals and coins, 5306 photographs, 4 books and 155 maps.
Like other major European museums, such as the Louvre in Paris and the Uffizi in Florence, the Prado owes its origin to the collector’s hobby of the ruling dynasties over several centuries. It reflects the personal tastes of the Spanish kings and their network of alliances and political enmities, making it an asymmetric collection, unsurpassed in certain artists and styles, and limited in others. Only since the twentieth century is sought, with unequal results, solve the most notorious absences.
Useful / Tourist Information
|Address||Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid. MAP|
|Telephone||913 30 28 00|
|How to get||Metro
Atocha (L1), Banco de España (L2)
9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37, 45
Train / Cercanías
|Schedule||Mo -Sa 10-20h.
Su y fest 10-19h.
Close January 1 , May 1 y December 25.
|Price||General € 15.
General + exemplary official guide: € 24. General Entry Two visits in a year: € 22
Reduced: € 7.50. Free. For all visitors to the Museum Collection, from Monday to Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Sundays and public holidays, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Art Paseo Card: € 29.60
Annual Card of the State Museums € 36.06.
Services within the Prado Museum
- Audio guides
- Slogan / Cloakroom
- Information points
- Nursery room