The Prado Museum in Madrid has one of the biggest collections of art and sculptures in the world. Its collection of European art from the thirteenth century to the twentieth century is unrivaled by any other art museum. It lies in the museum district in Madrid next door to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in the Villahermosa Palace. Also next door are the Archeological Museum, the Queen Sofia Museum and the Buen Retiro Museum, all equally famous and well regarded in their respective areas.
Originally planned as a Royal Museum by Spanish King Charles III in 1785, it was finished in 1819 and became a national museum in 1868. It first housed the private collections of the Bourbon and Hapsburg kings but was greatly enhanced by works of art from monasteries and convents, either acquired through purchase or donations. Diego Velazquez, one of Spain's greatest painters, was sent on a purchasing expedition to the famous centers of art in Italy, France, Holland and Belgium to acquire paintings by the famous masters.
The Spanish School
The El Prado Museum has the richest collection of Spanish, Italian, Flemish, French, Dutch and German paintings.The Spanish School is represented by El Greco, Diego de Ribera, Zurbarán, Velazquez (Adoration of the Magi, Las Meninas), Murillo and Goya (La Maja Desnuda, Charles IV and Family).
The Italian School
The Italian School is represented by Andrea Mantegna, Sandro Botticelli, Rafael, Andrea del Sarto, Correggio, Tintoretto (Christ Washing his Disciples Feet), Veronese, Tiepolo and Titian, the favorite painter of Charles III.
Representing the Flemish, German, French and Dutch Schools are Hans Memling, Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Bruegel, Peter-Paul Rubens, Van Dyck, Lucas Cranach, Albert Dürer, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorraine and Rembrandt.
The British School
The British School is represented by Gainsborough, Romney and Reynolds. The absence of more British painters is probably due to the geopolitical struggles in the Iberian Peninsula during the last three centuries.
A Cultural Heritage
The Prado Museum is one of Spain's most famous monuments and is a must-see whenever you visit this beautiful country. You would be able to see some of the world's most famous works of art and obtain a glimpse of a great civilization. You should expect to spend an entire day exploring the many halls with famous works on display.
The Prado Museum is open every day from Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 in the morning to 7:00 at night. It is closed on Mondays as well as on all Spanish Public Holidays.
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