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Visit Spain, dedicated to my favorite subject.Here you'll find a wealth of travel hints and information about Spain.

Madrid's El Prado Museum

Europe has many excellent art museums, but Madrid's El Prado Museum has to be rated as one of the very best. Originally built to be a science museum at the end of the 17th century, El Prado became one of the world's first public art museums when opened in 1819 to house the Royal art collection. Today, some 1,500 works of art are on display, but El Prado has more than 9,000 works of pieces of classical art in its extensive collection, which are displayed on a rotational basis.

The museum is situated on Paseo del Prado at the southern end of Madrid's main North-South artery, about midway between the Atocha train station and the "Cibeles" fountain at where Alcalá crosses Paseo de Recoletos (see No. 7 on the Madrid Central section map, and the detail map as well). The above photograph (taken on 4 Jan 1997) shows the current main entrance (while renovation proceeds on the main facade) at the Plaza de Murillo on the south end of the building.

 

What to see

The Prado has become a mecca for classical art lovers from around the world. In addition to the great Spanish masters, you'll also find some of the best of Flemish and Italian schools:

  • Spanish artists include the great masters Velázquez, El Greco and Goya, as well as Murillo, Zuloaga, Sorolla, Rivera and many others.
  • The Flemish school is represented by such greats as Van Dyke, Durer, Bosch, Rembrandt and Rubens.
  • Italian artists on display include some of the most famous: Titian, Botticelli, Rafael, Tintoretto and others.

While it's hard to pick out the best from such an outstanding collection, El Prado boasts most of the major works of Velázquez, including Las Meninas (Maids of Honor) and Las Hilanderas (Spinners); some superb works by the great El Greco and an excellent selection of Goya's splendid portraits and some of his truly surprising and haunting "Black Period" works.

Other information

  • El Prado is not far from the Madrid's city center and easily reachable by bus or Metro - check the map, for more specifics.
  • The museum's open from 09:00 to 19:00 Tuesday-Saturday, 09:00-14:00 Sundays and public holidays. Admission for adults is 400 pesetas (less than $3), and 200 pesetas for students.


Information Links: Museums in Madrid

El Prado Museum
From the Cyberspain Guide - good info on the museum with examples of the most famous paintings.

Hidden Prado
From the Miningco's excellent Spanish Culture site - an inside look at the Prado.

Museums Avenue
From the Miningco's excellent Spanish Culture site - Museums Avenue is the area in Madrid with three top notch museums: Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen Bornemisza.

Softguide Madrid - Prado Museum
Part of the excellent Softguide to Madrid with info on the Prado Museum, how to get there, what to see and more.

Softguide Madrid - Reina Sofia Museum
Part of the excellent Softguide to Madrid with info on the Reina Sofia Museum, of modern art how to get there, what to see and more.

Softguide Madrid - Thyssen Bornemizsa Museum
Part of the excellent Softguide to Madrid with info on the Thyssen Bornemizsa Museum, how to get there, what to see and more.