Tour of Prado Museum, Spanish National Art Museum, Madrid
Madrid has an amazing variety of sights and experiences to offer tourists. I deliberately avoided the famous bull fights that are conducted there but otherwise I tried and experienced little bit of everything. Having done the walk through old parts of Madrid, visited a cathedral – Almudena Cathedral, and also the Royal Palace of Madrid we were left with enough time to visit a museum. Madrid has a long list of museums. Wikipedia mentions 25 museums in its page for Madrid. Of these Prado Museum is rated as bestest among the best.
History of Prado Museum
Its history began during the reign of Charles III. He tried to create a single art collection under one roof. But it was not until the reign of Fernando VII when the Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture was created, on 19th November 1819. He was encouraged by his wife, Queen María Isabel de Braganza. And she was inspired by the Louvre Museum in Paris. The king’s death caused inheritance problems and endangered the unity of the collection, but with the disappearance of the monarchy in Spain the museum became national property and became known as the Prado National Museum.
Initially it was dedicated solely to Spanish paintings. But as the collection of art works increased the museum was expanded and in 1918. With donations and contributions and acquisitions the collections swelled in numbers. Today there are around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, and this is only an estimate.
Tour of Prado Museum
The gigantic neo-classical building housing this museum is impressive. I now regret for not taking pics of the monument. We had to stand for long in the queue to get to the entrance. And once side I lost track of time, in the process forgot to take the pictures of the museum building. Moreover I was so excited to do the tour of Prado Museum that other details seemed immaterial then. Photography inside is not permitted so you may better take the pictures of the exteriors of Prado Museum for memories.
Queue here reminded me of the one I experienced in Alhambra, only difference being this museum will allow everybody inside. So the lengthy , almost half a kilometer long line didn’t worry me much.
Once inside even with audio guide and map of the museum rooms you will feel a little lost. There is too much of world class art to see. Exhibits are there in so many rooms. The art work belongs to Italian, Spanish, German, and Flemish school of arts and more. You will have to do little bit of planning. So choose which art style you would want to focus on. Instead of rushing through rooms after rooms, it will be better to focus on some of them.
If this is going to be your first and last time you visit Prado Museum then select the artists you are a fan of. The masterpieces are scattered in several rooms. Note down the room numbers and then chalk out your route through these rooms. A little bit of study of the art works here will help.
And of course I must mention the staffs here is really helpful. Couple of times I kind of had a loss of direction, they were too willing to guide. There is the Goya, Valasquz and El Greco, Bosch, Picasso many more. At the end of it there was a sense of satisfaction though I am sure if photography was allowed I would have been doubly thrilled.
Time for Tour of Prado Museum
The time span to tour Prado Museum can be any where between 1 hour to one whole day. It all depends on how detailed look you wish to have of each exhibit there. You can simply select 10 must see master pieces of Prado Museum and finish off the tour in a couple of hours.
Most Famous Work in Museo Prado
Las Meninas (The Ladies-in-Waiting) a 1656 painting is the most famous painting in Museo del Prado in Madrid. The creator/painter Diego Velázquez was the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age. Its complex and enigmatic composition raises questions about reality and illusion, and creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures depicted.
As expected there was a huge crowd in front of the painting. Indeed it was something to be admired but I failed to understand why the tourists stood rooted in the place. Some of them seemed to visually devour the strokes of colors on that canvas. The movement in that room was very slow.
The Nude Maja
This statue is erected outside the museum. Goya created the painting of the nude lady. The Nude Maja is name given to 1797-1800 oil on canvas painting by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. It portrays a nude woman reclining on a bed of pillows, and was probably commissioned by Manuel de Godoy, to hang in his private collection in a separate cabinet reserved for nude paintings. Goya created a pendant of the same woman identically posed, but clothed, known as La maja vestida (The Clothed Maja). There is a painting of this inside Prado Museum since 1901.
Location of Prado Museum
Prado National Museum
Ruiz de Alarcón Street, 23
Opening hours of Prado Museum:
Monday to Saturday: 10:00 h to 20:00 h.
Sundays and holidays: 10:00 h to 19:00 h.
Reduced opening hours (January 6, December 24 and 31): 10:00 h to 14:00 h.
January 1, May 1, and December 25.
* The galleries are cleared 10 minutes before closing.