Prado Museum. Museum in Madrid, Spain

Prado Museum

Museum in Madrid, Spain

Prado Museum..Museo del Prado Photo © BOMBMAN

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Prado Museum

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The Prado Museum in Madrid is basically the national art museum of Spain. Featuring one of the finest collections of European art in the world, the museum is renowned around the globe and one of the most popular attractions in the Spanish capital. Its collections is based on the former Spanish Royal Collection and consists of European works of art dating from between the 12th century and the beginning of the 19th century; the most notable part of the collection is the Spanish art, which is without question the greatest collection of Spanish art in the world.

The Prado Museum, or ‘Museo del Prado’ in Spanish, is one of the world’s most visited art museums and is home to one of the largest permanent art collections on Earth. There are more than 7,500 paintings, 8,200 drawings, almost 5,000 prints, 1,000 coins and medals, and 1,000 sculptures. Artists whose work is displayed there include de Goya, Velazquez, El Greco, Bosch, and Rubens. Because of the sheer enormity of the collection, about one-seventh is on display at any time.


The name of the museum is derived from the area where it is located; a former area of market gardens that was known as the ‘prado’ or meadow. The museum building was designed in 1785 by architect, Juan de Villanueva (Wikipedia Article), on commission by King Charles III. It was one of many buildings erected under the rule of Charles III, who believed that Madrid should house the same cultural facilities as other European capitals like Rome, London, and Paris. The museum building, however, was originally designed to be a natural history museum. Construction was halted by the Spanish War of Independence and begun again by Ferdinand VI, who redesigned it as the new Royal Museum for Paintings and Sculptures. The first catalogue of the museum’s collection was published in 1819.

The ever-growing museum was expanded several times in the 20th century and has grown into one of the world’s greatest art museums.

Collections and Highlights

The museum features several collections, including Sculpture, Prints and Drawings, and Decorative Arts, but the most celebrated is definitely the collection of Paintings.

Las Meninas - Prado
Las Meninas - Prado Museum. Photo by unknown
Arguably the most famous painting in the museum is Las Meninas by Velazquez. Another renowned painting by him is The Triumph of Bacchus. Other major highlights are The Fall of Man by Titian, The Judgment of Paris by Peter Paul Rubens; Agnus Dei by Francisco de Zurbaran, The Naked Maja by Goya; The Cardinal by Raphael, Descent from the Cross by Roger van de Weyden; The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, Self Portrait by Albrecht Drürer; and The Nobleman with His Hand on His Chest by El Greco.

The Spanish collection is absolutely worth seeing and includes many more works by Velazquez, Goya, El Greco, Murillo, and others. There are also many masterpieces by Dutch, Flemish, and Italian artists.

Visiting the Prado Museum

The enormous scale of the Prado Museum can make a visit overwhelming. It is therefore recommended to focus on a number of highlights or particular works of art and go and see those. To help visitors, the Prado has organized three routes past masterpieces; there’s a one-hour, a two-hour, and a three-hour route. Filled to the brim with masterpieces, it is entirely possible to lose yourself in the museum for hours on end, admiring some of the most magnificent works of art ever made. Visits usually last about half a day, a timeframe that allows visitors to see all highlights. After strolling through the museum, there is the opportunity to grab a bite to eat or a beverage in the cafeteria. There’s a gift shop as well.

The Prado Museum is open every day of the year, except on January 1, May 1 and December 25. From Monday through Saturday, it can be visited between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.; on Sunday and holidays, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. General admission is €14 ($16); reduced admission is €7 ($8.05).

Visitors who would like to visit other art museums in the city may want to purchase an “Art Walk” ticket, “El Paseo del Arte”, which also grants access to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum.

How to Get There

The museum can be reached by various means of transportation. The nearest subway stations are Banco de España and Atocha. Bus lines 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37, and 45 stops nearby as well. Located in central Madrid, the Prado Museum is also easily accessed on foot.

Similar and Nearby Landmarks

Other great attractions in Madrid include Buen Retiro Park, the Royal Palace Madrid, and Plaza Mayor. Fantastic art museums elsewhere in the world that are worth a visit are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Louvre and the Hermitage Museum.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Apr 02, 2015

Pictures of Prado Museum

Museo del Prado - Prado Museum
Museo del Prado - Prado Museum. Photo by Xavier Serra

Museo del Prado - Prado Museum
Museo del Prado - Prado Museum. Photo by Allan Reyes

The Prado - Prado Museum
The Prado - Prado Museum. Photo by Mike Norton


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