Without any doubt, this the Prado is one of the world's most important museums since it opened in 1819 (when it became one of the world's first public art galleries). This massive collection is a testament to the centuries of devotion to art accumulation by the Spanish monarchy and church and to the attitudes prevalent in the age of enlightenment when the Prado was conceived.
The building was designed by the neo-
The Prado contains over 9.000 works, mainly paintings, of which only about 1500 can be displayed at any one time. There is space in the museum dedicated to displaying on a rotational basis those works which are not on permanent exhibition.
To name just some of the artists represented in the Prado: Brueghel, Van der Weyden, Van Dyck, El Bosco, Durero, Rembrandt, Rubens, Fra Angélico, Mantegna, Botticelli, Bronzino, Rafael, Tiziano, Tintoretto, El Greco, Velazquez, Murillo, Ribera, Goya, ...
Below we have given what we hope is a representative list of artists, along with some of their most important works, mainly for those who don't have time for a more complete visit. Since the museum does not have a very clear layout, we have not tried to explain how to find the various paintings listed below. Instead we recommend using the free guide/map provided at the entrance, or we would encourage you to ask any of the staff roaming about.
Velazquez: Most of his major works are here. Not to be missed are Las Meninas (the Maids of Honour), Las Hilanderas (the spinners) and La Rendición de Breda (the Surrender of Breda). Some help in understanding these complex paintings can be obtained from the museum guide (1st floor).
El Greco: One can never help but be amazed at how 'modern' the works of this 16th century artist appear. Indeed his genius was not fully recognised until long after his death. Painters from the avant-
The Italian rooms
The Flemish rooms: Be sure not to leave the Prado without seeing El Bosco's (Hieronymus Bosch) strange and magical Garden of Earthly Delights, which hung in King Philip II's bedroom in El Escorial and El descendimiento de la Cruz (The descent from the cross) by Van der Weyden (Ground floor).
Goya: If you're not familiar with Goya, you'll be astounded at his versatility. Beginning with his tapestry paintings, which so beautifully capture the day-
The nearby Casón del Buen Retiro, King Felipe IV's summer residence, houses Spanish paintings from the XIX century. These consist largely of landscapes, realism and historical painting. If you care to visit, there are some gems to be found here. Entry is included in the admission price to the Prado, but be sure to remember to retain your ticket.
After finishing, we highly recommend a visit to one of the nearby parks, the The Botanical Gardens or the El Retiro park, which will no doubt provide both your feet and eyes with a well-
Address: Paseo del Prado, s/n
Metro: Banco de España / Atocha
Zone: Las Cortes