The Prado Museum (Spanish: Museo del Prado; Spanish pronunciation: [muˈseo ðel ˈpɾaðo]) is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It is widely considered to have one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and the single best collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture in 1819, it also contains important collections of other types of works. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world, and it is considered one of the greatest art museums in the world. The numerous works by Francisco Goya, the single most extensively represented artist, as well as by Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and Diego Velázquez, are some of the highlights of the collection.
The collection currently comprises around 8,200 drawings, 7,600 paintings, 4,800 prints, and 1,000 sculptures, in addition to a large number of other works of art and historic documents. As of 2012, the museum displayed about 1,300 works in the main buildings, while around 3,100 works were on temporary loan to various museums and official institutions. The remainder were in storage. The museum received 2.8 million visitors in 2012. It is one of the largest museums in Spain.
The best-known work on display at the museum is Las Meninas by Velázquez. Velázquez and his keen eye and sensibility were also responsible for bringing much of the museum's fine collection of Italian masters to Spain, now the largest outside Italy.
|Museo del Prado|
Exterior of the Prado Museum
|Location||Paseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain|
|Type||Art museum, Historic site|
Ranked 18th globally (2013)
|Public transit access|
|Museo Nacional del Prado|
|Native name |
Spanish: Museo Nacional del Prado
Museo del Prado (Main wing)
|Architect||Juan de Villanueva|
|Official name: Museo Nacional del Prado|
Location of Museo Nacional del Prado in Spain
The building that is now the home of the Museo Nacional del Prado was designed in 1785 by architect of the Enlightenment in Spain Juan de Villanueva on the orders of Charles III to house the Natural History Cabinet. Nonetheless, the building's final function was not decided until the monarch's grandson, Ferdinand VII, encouraged by his wife, Queen María Isabel de Braganza, decided to use it as a new Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures. The Royal Museum, which would soon become known as the National Museum of Painting and Sculpture, and subsequently the Museo Nacional del Prado, opened to the public for the first time in November 1819. It was created with the double aim of showing the works of art belonging to the Spanish Crown and to demonstrate to the rest of Europe that Spanish art was of equal merit to any other national school.
The first catalogue of the Museum, published in 1819 and solely devoted to Spanish painting, included 311 paintings, although at that time the Museum housed 1,510 from the various royal residences, the Reales Sitios, including works from other schools. The exceptionally important royal collection, which forms the nucleus of the present-day Museo del Prado, started to increase significantly in the 16th century during the time of Charles V and continued under the succeeding Habsburg and Bourbon monarchs. Their efforts and determination led to the Royal Collection being enriched by some of the masterpieces now to be seen in the Prado. These include The Descent from the Cross by Rogier van der Weyden, The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymous Bosch, Knight with his Hand on his Breast by El Greco, The Death of the Virgin by Mantegna, The Holy Family, known as "La Perla", by Raphael, Charles V at Mülhberg by Titian, Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet by Tintoretto, Dürer's Self-portrait, Las Meninas by Velázquez, The Three Graces by Rubens, and The Family of Charles IV by Goya.
In addition to works from the Spanish royal collection, other holdings increased and enriched the Museum with further masterpieces, such as the two Majas by Goya. Among the now closed museums whose collections have been added to that of the Prado were the Museo de la Trinidad in 1872, and the Museo de Arte Moderno in 1971. In addition, numerous legacies, donations and purchases have been of crucial importance for the growth of the collection. Various works entered the Prado from the Museo de la Trinidad, including The Fountain of Grace by the School of Van Eyck, the Santo Domingo and San Pedro Martír altarpieces painted for the monastery of Santo Tomás in Ávila by Pedro Berruguete, and the five canvases by El Greco executed for the Colegio de doña María de Aragón. Most of the Museum's 19th-century paintings come from the former Museo de Arte Moderno, including works by the Madrazos, José de Madrazo y Agudo and Federico de Madrazo, Vicente López, Carlos de Haes, Eduardo Rosales and Sorolla.
Upon the deposition of Isabella II in 1868, the museum was nationalized and acquired the new name of "Museo del Prado". The building housed the royal collection of arts, and it rapidly proved too small. The first enlargement to the museum took place in 1918. Since the creation of the Museo del Prado more than 2,300 paintings have been incorporated into its collection, as well as a large number of sculptures, prints, drawings and works of art through bequests, donations and purchases, which account for most of the New Acquisitions. Numerous bequests have enriched the Museum's holdings, such as the outstanding collection of medals left to the Museum by Pablo Bosch; the drawings and items of decorative art left by Pedro Fernández Durán as well as Van der Weyden's masterpiece, The Virgin and Child; and the Ramón de Errazu bequest of 19th-century paintings. Particularly important donations include Barón Emile d'Erlanger's gift of Goya's Black Paintings in 1881. Among the numerous works that have entered the collection through purchase are some outstanding ones acquired in recent years including two works by El Greco, The Fable and The Flight into Egypt acquired in 1993 and 2001, Goya's Countess of Chinchón bought in 2000, Velázquez's portrait of The Pope's Barber, acquired in 2003 and Fra Angelico's Madonna of the Pomegranate purchased in 2016.
Between 1873 and 1900, the Prado helped decorate city halls, new universities, and churches. During the Second Spanish Republic from 1931 to 1936, the focus was on building up provincial museums. During the Spanish Civil War, upon the recommendation of the League of Nations, the museum staff removed 353 paintings, 168 drawings and the Dauphin's Treasure and sent the art to Valencia, then later to Girona, and finally to Geneva. The art had to be returned across French territory in night trains to the museum upon the commencement of World War II. During the early years of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, many paintings were sent to embassies.
The main building was enlarged with short pavilions in the rear between 1900 and 1960. The next enlargement was the incorporation of two buildings (nearby but not adjacent) into the institutional structure of the museum: the Casón del Buen Retiro, which is equipped to display up to 400 paintings and which housed the bulk of the 20th-century art from 1971 to 1997, and the Salón de Reinos (Throne building), formerly the Army Museum.
In 1993, an extension proposed by the Prado's director at the time, Felipe Garin, was quickly abandoned after a wave of criticism. In the late 1990s, a $14 million roof work forced the Velázquez masterpiece Las Meninas to change galleries twice. In 1998, the Prado annex in the nearby Casón del Buen Retiro closed for a $10 million two-year overhaul that included three new underground levels. In 2007, the museum finally executed Rafael Moneo's project to expand its exposition room to 16,000 square meters, hoping to increase the yearly number of visitors from 1.8 million to 2.5 million.
A glass-roofed and wedge-shaped foyer now contains the museum's shops and cafeteria, removing them from the main building to make more room for galleries. The 16th-century Cloister of Jerónimo has been removed stone by stone to make foundations for increased stability of surrounding buildings and will be re-assembled in the new museum's extension. Hydraulic jacks had to be used to prevent the basement walls from falling during construction.  The enlargement is an underground building which connects the main building to another one entirely reconstructed.
In November 2016, it was announced that British architect Norman Foster, in a joint project with Carlos Rubio Carvajal, is to renovate the Hall of Realms, which once formed part of the Buen Retiro palace and transform it into a $32 million extension of the Prado. The museum announced the selection of Foster and Rubio after a jury reviewed the proposals of the eight competition finalists – including David Chipperfield, Rem Koolhaas and Eduardo Souto de Moura –, who had already been shortlisted from an initial list of 47 international teams of architects. The building was acquired by the Prado in 2015, after having served as an army museum until 2005. The project is designed to give the Prado about 61,500 square feet of additional available space, of which about 27,000 square feet will be used to exhibit works.
The Museo del Prado is one of the buildings constructed during the reign of Charles III (Carlos III) as part of a grandiose building scheme designed to bestow upon Madrid a monumental urban space. The building that lodges the Museum of the Prado was initially conceived by José Moñino y Redondo, count of Floridablanca and was commissioned in 1785 by Charles III for the reurbanización of the Paseo del Prado. To this end, Charles III called on one of his favorite architects, Juan de Villanueva, author also of the nearby Botanical Garden and the City Hall of Madrid.
The prado ("meadow") that was where the museum now stands gave its name to the area, the Salón del Prado (later Paseo del Prado), and to the museum itself upon nationalisation. Work on the building stopped at the conclusion of Charles III's reign and throughout the Peninsular War and was only initiated again during the reign of Charles III's grandson, Ferdinand VII. The premises had been used as headquarters for the cavalry and a gunpowder-store for the Napoleonic troops based in Madrid during the war.
Conversely, for the first time in its 200-year history, the Museo del Prado has toured an exhibition of its renowned collection of Italian masterpieces at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, from 16 May 2014 until 31 August 2014. Many of the works have never before left Spain.
Until the early 2000s, the Prado's annual income was approximately $18 million, $15 million of which came from the government and the remainder from private contributions, publications, and admissions. In 2001, the conservative government of José María Aznar decided to change the museum's financing platform, ushering in a public-private partnership. Under its new bylaws, which the Cortes Generales approved in 2003, the Prado must gradually reduce its level of state support to 50 percent from 80 percent. In exchange, the museum gained control of the budget — now roughly €35 million — and the power to raise money from corporate donations and merchandising. However, its recent €150 million expansion was paid for by the Spanish state.
In 1991, Manuel Villaescusa bequeathed his fortune of nearly $40 million in Madrid real estate to the Prado, to be used solely for the acquisition of paintings. The museum subsequently sold Villaescusa's buildings to realize income from them. The bequest suddenly made the Prado one of the most formidable bidders for paintings in the world.
The first four directors were drawn from nobility. From 1838 to 1960, the directors were mostly artists. Since then, most of them have been art historians.
In 2009, the Prado Museum selected 14 of its most important paintings to be displayed in Google Earth and Google Maps at extremely high resolution, with the largest displayed at 14,000 megapixels. The images' zoom capability allows for close-up views of paint texture and fine detail.
Boys playing soldiers is a 1778-79 tapestry cartoon by Francisco of Goya conceived for the bedroom of the Princes of Asturias in the Royal Palace of El Pardo.It is presently exhibited in the Museo del Prado. A sketch of the artwork is kept nowadays in the Yanduri Collection of Seville.Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary
Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary, also known as Lo Spasimo or Il Spasimo di Sicilia, is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael, of c. 1514–16, now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. It is an important work for the development of his style.Doña María de Aragón Altarpiece
The Doña María de Aragón Altarpiece was an altarpiece painted between 1596 and 1599 by El Greco for the chapel of the Colegio de la Encarnación de Madrid (also known as the Colegio de doña María de Aragón). There has been much speculation over which paintings belonged to the work - there is now consensus that it consisted of six large canvases and a seventh, now lost. Five of those six canvases are now in the Prado and the sixth is in the National Museum of Art of Romania in Bucharest.Hercules separating the mounts Calpe And Abyla
Hercules separating the mounts Calpe And Abyla is a work by Francisco de Zurbarán, created in 1634.Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes
Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes (also known as Artemisia Receiving Mausolus' Ashes and Sophonisba Receiving the Poisoned Cup) is a painting by the Dutch master Rembrandt. It is housed in the Museo del Prado of Madrid, Spain. It is signed "REMBRANDT F: 1634".
The subject of the picture was unclear for centuries. It portrays a young woman, formerly identified as Sophonisba or Artemisia, or a generic queen due to her jewels and rich garments, receiving a cup from a maiden. Today it is considered to be Judith at the banquet of Holofernes.For the woman, Rembrandt probably used his wife Saskia as model.La maja vestida
The Clothed Maja (Spanish: La maja vestida [la ˈmaxa βesˈtiða]) is a pendant painting by the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya between 1800 and 1805. It is a clothed version of the earlier La maja desnuda (1797–1800) and is exhibited next to it in the same room at the Prado Museum in Madrid.The painting was first owned by Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy. It was twice in the collection of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, also in Madrid, being "sequestered" by the Spanish Inquisition between 1814 and 1836, and has been in the Museo del Prado since 1901.List of Francisco Goya's tapestry cartoons
This is a list of Francisco Goya's 63 large tapestry cartoons (Spanish: cartones para tapices) painted on commission for Charles III of Spain and later Charles IV of Spain between 1775 and 1791 to hang in the San Lorenzo de El Escorial and El Pardo palaces. The word cartoon is derived from the Italian cartone; which describes a large sheet of paper used in preparation for a later painting or tapestry. Goya's were executed on canvas which was then woven into wool tapestry to a large mural scale. While many of the large finished works are today in the Prado Museum, the original sketches were sold as works in their own right.In 1774, Goya was asked by the German artist Anton Raphael Mengs, acting on behalf of the Spanish crown, to undertake the series. While designing tapestries was neither prestigious nor well paid, Goya used them, along with his early engravings, to bring himself to wider attention. They afforded his first contact with the Spanish monarchy that was to eventually appoint him court painter. The works are mostly popularist in a rococo style, and were completed early in his career, when he was largely unknown and actively seeking commissions. There is evidence that he later regretted having spent so much effort and time on the pieces, and that his later darker period, which begins roughly with Yard with Lunatics, was in part a reaction against them.
By 1776, aged 29, he had completed five tapestries, by the Real Fábrica de Tapices de Santa Bárbara, the royal tapestry manufactory. His brother-in-law Francisco Bayeu was made director of the tapestry works in 1777, which greatly advanced the ambitious artist's career prospects. However, Goya was beset by illness during the period, and his condition was used against him by the contemporary art scene, which looked jealously upon any artist seen to be rising in stature. Some of the larger cartoons, such as The Wedding, were more than 8 by 10 feet, and had proved a drain on his physical strength. Ever resourceful, Goya turned this misfortune around, claiming that his illness had allowed him the insight to produce works that were more personal and informal. However, he found the format limiting, because being inherently matte, tapestry was unable to capture complex colour shift or texture, and was unsuited to the impasto and glazing techniques he was by then applying to his painted works.Dating the series has not been difficult as the Royal Tapestry Works maintained a detailed record of the dates, titles, sizes and states in which each of the cartoons arrived. Goya's letters to his friends (in particular his correspondence with the Aragonese industrialist Martín Zapater) contain additional details.List of works by Diego Velázquez
This is a list of paintings and drawings by the 17th-century Spanish artist Diego Velázquez. Velázquez was not prolific; he is estimated to have produced between only 110 and 120 known canvases. Among these paintings, however, are many widely known and influential works.
All paintings are in oil on canvas unless noted.Madonna of the Rose (Raphael)
The Madonna of the Rose (Madonna della rosa) is a 1518-1520 painting, now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Its attribution as by Raphael is uncertain, and the involvement of Giulio Romano cannot be excluded. The rose and the lower portion were added at a later date by an unknown artist. A second autograph version of this painting, without the added rose and lower strip, painted on wood panel, is owned by real estate magnate Luke Brugnara.Paradise and Hell
Paradise and Hell is the left and right panels of a minor diptych by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch based on The Haywain Triptych. The image is oil on panel and is 135 x 45 cm. It was painted c. 1510 and is now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. Paradise is depicted darker than in the Haywain, which possibly represents the darkness of original sin.Portrait of Isabella of Portugal
The Portrait of Isabella of Portugal is an oil-on-canvas portrait of Isabella of Portugal, Holy Roman Empress by Titian dating to 1548. It was part of the Spanish royal collection and is now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.Portrait of a Doctor
Retrato de un médico (Portrait of a Doctor) is an oil painting by El Greco.
Painted in Toledo between 1582 and 1585, and on display at the Museo del Prado, some authors suggest the portrait of the anonymous person may either be that of Luis de Mercado, Felipe II's chamber doctor, or of Rodrigo de la Fuente, a friend of El Greco.Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman
Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman (Spanish - Retrato de un caballero desconocido) is an oil painting by El Greco.
Painted in Toledo between 1603 and 1607, and on display at the Museo del Prado, it has been cited as a possible portrait of Miguel de Cervantes, based on the fact that the author and playwright was living near Toledo in 1604 and that he knew people within El Greco's circle of friends.It is one of a series of secular portraits of unknown gentlemen, all of them dressed in black and wearing white ruffs, against dark backgrounds, the most famous of which is El caballero de la mano en el pecho (The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest) (Ca. 1580).The Countess of Chinchon
The Countess of Chinchon (Spanish: Condesa de Chinchón) was painted by Francisco Goya about 1800. It is held in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. The painting depicts María Teresa de Borbón, 15th Countess of Chinchón, who had been encouraged by Queen Maria Luisa of Parma and by opportunism to marry Manuel de Godoy, the Prime Minister, in a marriage of convenience. It does not depict the more famous Countess of Chinchón who became the namesake of the cinchona genus of trees and shrubs responsible for early modern quinine production.The Death of Hercules
The Death of Hercules is a 1634 painting by Francisco de Zurbarán, now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. It belonged to a series of paintings on the life of Hercules for the Hall of Realms at the Palacio del Buen Retiro.The Grape Harvest
The Grape Harvest or Autumn (Spanish: La vendimia o El Otoño) is a 1786 oil on canvas painting by Francisco Goya which depicts a man in autumn-colored clothes with his wife and son. A peasant is presenting them with a sample of the year’s grape harvest. The piece has been held by the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1870.The Milkmaid of Bordeaux
The Milkmaid of Bordeaux (Spanish: La lechera de Burdeos) is an oil-on-canvas painting completed between 1825 and 1827, generally attributed to the Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746–1828).The Parasol
The Parasol (also known as El Quitasol) is one of a cartoon series of oil on linen paintings made by the painter Francisco Goya. This series of paintings was specifically made in order to be transformed into tapestries that would be hung on the walls of the Royal Palace of El Pardo in Madrid, Spain. The tapestries showed serene events in everyday life, which made them a nice addition to the dining room of Prince and Princess of Asturias—the future King Charles IV and Maria Luisa of Parma. The queen called on Goya because she wanted to decorate the dining room with cheerful scenes; The Parasol and the other tapestry paintings were Goya's response to this request. The painting is currently located in the Museo del Prado in Madrid as is another in the series, Blind man's bluff.Visitation (Raphael)
The Visitation is a c. 1517 painting of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Saint Elizabeth by Raphael, in the Prado Museum since 1837. Commissioned by the Apostolic Protonotary Giovanni Branconio at his father Marino's request for their family chapel in the church of San Silvestre in Aquila (Marino's wife was called Elisabeth), it was plundered by the occupation troops of Philip IV of Spain in 1655 and placed at El Escorial.