July 5, 2022

Prado, official name in Spanish. Museo del Prado, also: Museo Nacional del Prado - one of the most important art museums in the world, located in Madrid. It is also one of the most visited museums in the world. It was established in 1819 by King Ferdinand VII at the request of his second wife, Maria Isabella. The original classicist building, built in 1785 according to a design by Juan de Villanueva, was expanded several times in the 20th century. Currently, there are over 35,000 exhibits in the Prado.


The building that houses the collection today was designed in 1785 by the architect Juan de Villanueva on the recommendation of Charles III as the seat of the Natural History Cabinet. The ordering party's grandson, Ferdinand VII, encouraged by his wife, Queen Maria Isabella, decided that the building would house the Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture. Soon the name was changed to the National Museum of Painting and Sculpture. The museum officially opened to the public in November 1819. Its main goal was to show art belonging to the royal crown and to show that Spanish art does not differ in level from the artistic disciplines realized in other European countries. In 1868, Isabella II was dethroned, and the museum was nationalized and renamed the National Prado Museum (Spanish: Museo Nacional del Prado). In the meantime, the museum's collection grew, enriching in large part with the Mendizabal seizures - a project to confiscate unprofitable church lands that led to the closure of unprofitable monasteries and thus the seizure of their property, including works of art. With time, the building housing the royal art collection turned out to be insufficient to present the collection, so in 1918 a decision was made to expand it. During the Second Spanish Republic from 1931 to 1936, the focus was on building provincial museums. During the Spanish Civil War, 353 paintings and 168 drawings were removed on the basis of an order from the League of Nations and sent to Valencia, then Girona and Geneva. In the first years of Francisco Franco's dictatorship, many paintings were placed in embassies. In 2007, a new part of the museum was opened, designed by architect Rafael Moneo: light, simple and modest.


The Prado building was erected as part of the transformation of this part of Madrid from a rural landscape into a monumental urban space. The area, however, has retained its name: prado (Spanish for meadow). The classicist building of the museum was erected according to the design of Juan de Villanueva. At its entrances there are monuments of the most outstanding Spanish painters: Diego Velazquez and Francisco Goya. As part of the extension of the museum building in 2007, major interventions in the historic building were avoided: the added part is hidden behind the building, not visible from the Paseo del Prado. As part of the extension, the restored cloisters of the non-existent St. Hieronymus, formerly located east of the museum. Thanks to the construction of an underground passage connecting the former courtyard with the building of the Prado Museum, the reconstruction does not affect the classicist Villanueva building. Several gates lead to the interior of the museum. The main, representative entrance from the Paseo del Prado is called Puerta de Velázquez. It is only opened on ceremonial occasions, such as official visits. The ticket offices are located on the Puerta de Goya, located in the north facade. After purchasing a ticket, depending on the intensity of tourist traffic, the security guards direct visitors either to the Puerta de Goya or to the new Puerta de los Jerónimos, built during the reconstruction in 2007, located between the Villanueva building and the Church of St. Jerome. A quarter of an hour before the closing time of the museum, visitors are emptied of visitors, who are usually directed to the closest one