Arguably, the world’s most important and substantial collection of 16th to 19th century masterpieces is found within the walls of the Prado Museum in Madrid. For 200 years, the Museo del Prado has been a center of art and cultural experience in Spain, Europe and beyond. The museum’s Bicentenary celebration explores its impact on the world beginning with its opening in 1819 to today and its future role within society. Several exhibitions are planned throughout this year as well extended tour options making it the perfect time for your group to visit!
Originally designed by architect Juan de Villanueva in 1785, the museum first opened to the public in November 1819 by order of King Ferdinand VII. At the time, exhibiting 311 paintings from the royal collections which proliferated during the reign of Charles V in the 16th century and continued through the Hapsburg and Bourbon monarchies. This unparalleled collection comprised of Spanish paintings as well as Flemish and Italian paintings, is a national treasure featuring artists such as Bosch, Titian, Rubens, Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, and El Greco. Today it houses thousands of paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints. As such, the museum has undergone a significant transformation of late in order to best display its art. Since the Villanueva building’s space had reached capacity, a new building was constructed adjacent to it along with an extensive restoration of the Jerónimos Cloister forming a unique museum campus known as the “Paseo del Prado.”
This masterful museum is home to the world’s most celebrated collection of artworks. Here, visitors will find the most complete collections of Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya. One of the most important painters of the Spanish Golden Age, Velázquez created such masterpieces as Las Meninas, The Surrender of Breda, The Spinners, and The Drunkards all of which are on display at the Prado. Francisco Goya is considered one of the most important Spanish painters of the late 18th and 19th centuries. The museum houses nearly 140 pieces of his work including the Black Paintings which adorned the walls of his house depicting social and political disillusion while he remained isolated from society. Other masterpieces within the Prado’s collection include Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, Raphael’s The Cardinal, Titian’s The Emperor Charles V at Mühlberg, The Three Graces by Rubens, and Rembrandt’s Artemisa. I encourage you to explore all the museum has to offer by visiting its website featuring a digital catalog of its collection.
The Prado Museum
As part of the Bicentennial celebration, the museum is planning various exhibitions and outreach programs specifically aimed at increasing appreciation of the arts for a new generation of visitors; making now the perfect time to schedule your visit to Madrid. The Prado Museum offers guided group tours for 15 Euro (17USD) per person rendering an afternoon of exploration both unforgettable and affordable. Visit, explore and enjoy The Prado. A museum that has fascinated visitors for 200 years and is poised to remain a must-see Spanish treasure.
For further information on Spain, contact the Tourist Offices of Spain.