The Prado is the most famous museum in Madrid, designed by Juan de Villanueva in 1785. The national museum hosts world-class European art from the 12th-19th century. Its initial purpose was a home for the Royal paintings and sculptures. When the museum first opened in the early 19th century only 311 paintings hung on the walls of the grand museum. Today, over 2,300 paintings have been acquired by El Prado, and attract tourists around the globe. The Prado covers pieces from the 14th century Italian paintings to 19th century historical paintings. Pieces by Goya dominate the 19th century and depict Spanish history; along with Goya, Velazquez, and El Greco, which are also world famous masterpieces in El Prado.
- Paintings – Despite the dominate Spanish holdings in El Prado, many other Schools of painting are represented in the museum. Italian, Flemish, French, German, Dutch, and British paintings are displayed and appreciated throughout El Prado. Italian paintings, many of which were in the royal collection, account for over 1,000 of the pieces in the museum.
- Sculptures – El Prado also displays sculptures from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. There are prints and drawings to explore from the royal collection, and decorative arts from the royal collection that will make your eyes twinkle. Beautiful porcelain, pottery, and glass, on display will take you to the 17th century royal palace.
Most Famous Pieces
There are a few pieces from the permanent collection that the Museo del Prado is most well known for, and are not to be missed when spending a day at the national museum.
- The Annunciation, by Fra Angelico, a religious piece from the New Testament, is a permanent piece in the museum, painted in 1425.
- The Descent from the Cross, by Roger van der Weyden was painted using oil in 1435. One could spend an hour studying this image alone; its religious message and use of primary colors is captivating.
- The Garden of Earthly Delights is a must see when visiting The Prado. From the Flemish school of art, the open triptych, by Hieronymus Bosch, displays three beautiful and moralizing scenes of allegory.
- The Three Graces – Still in the Flemish School, The Three Graces is a classic Rubens piece from 1630. The piece depicts mythology through the three Graces: Aglaia, Euphrosine, and Thalia.
- Las Meninas is one of the most famous paintings in the world from the 17th century. The painting depicts the daughter of Felipe IV in Madrid’s Alcazar Palace. As Velazquez’s most famous painting, the portrait attracts visitors from around the world.
- Goya’s painting, The Third of May: the Executions on Principe Pio, shows the 3rd of May in 1808, when patriots from Madrid were executed by Napoleon’s army. The painting shows a dramatic and heroic moment in Spanish history.
The “Golden Triangle of Art” is located in a lovely area of Madrid, steps away from the Fuente de Neptuno, a famous and intricate monument of Neptune being pulled by seahorses in his chariot. The monument can be admired from one of the many quaint cafés nearby.
El Retiro Park is a short walk away from El Prado as well; the park spans for 350 acres, with beautiful gardens and a large lake. The park holds beautiful gardens to explore, a lake for boating, and a stunning glass building: the Palacio de Cristal.
|Admission Type||Price (Euros)|
|General Admission + copy of “Guide del Prado”||23|
|Two visits in one year||20|
|Reduced Admission (Citizens over 65)||7|
|Under 18, students, unemployed citizens||Free|
- Paths – Due to the extensive collection in The Prado, the museum created three paths within the museum for visitors to follow, with 15, 30, or 50 works of art. As a visitor, you chose a path depending on whether you plan to spend 1, 2, or 3 hours in the museum.
- Map – a free map is available upon entry to help guide you through El Prado.
- Guide – a guide to El Prado is also available to purchase with admission, which provides a structured tour and background of the artwork. Even with weekly visits to the museum there will always be more art to admire.
- Bus – Lines 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37 and 45 from nearest bus stop.
- Metro – Banco de Espana, or Anton Martin metro stops for a short walk to the Prado Museum.
- Train – Atocha station