|Velázquez Entrance to the Prado|
Method of Transportation: Bus to and from Segovia and Madrid, Metro to and from
Príncipe Pío and Atocha Stations
Transportation Time: Approximately 2 hours (One Way)
Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Sundays and Festivals 10 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
January 6, December 24 and 31 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Bus to and from Segovia and Madrid: $22.21/€16.10
Metro to and from Príncipe Pío and Atocha Stations: $4.14/€3.00
General with Guidebook $31.75/€23.00
Student: Free with ID
General with Guidebook: $58.10/€42.10
The Museo Nacional del Prado, or the Prado National Museum, is one of the best known art museums. It contains over 8,000 artworks and is home to the most comprehensive collection of Spanish art in the world. The building was first designed in 1785 by architect Juan de Villanueva as a National History Cabinet by order of King Charles III, but transitioned to the royal museum under his grandson King Ferdinand VII with influence of his wife Queen Maria Isabel de Braganza. The museum was first named the National Museum of Paintings and Sculptures before being named the Prado National Museum and first opened to the public in November of 1819. At the time of its opening, only three hundred and eleven paintings were on display with a collection of only 1,510 paintings from the royal residences.
Since then, the Prado’s collections have significantly expanded. Not only does the Prado contain paintings, but it includes sculpture, drawings, engravings, coins and metals, clothing, and decorative art throughout the museum from the eleventh through nineteenth centuries. With Spanish, Italian, Dutch, German, English, and French artworks, the Prado is comprised of many different schools of art as well. Some of the most notable artists include Spanish artists Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Van Der Weyden, and many others. In 2007, the museum’s exhibition area was expanded by more than 50% to include an entrance hall, four rooms of temporary exhibits, an auditorium, the restored cloister of the church of Los Jerónimos, and storage and restoration space.
Even though the Prado is a large museum, the Prado website has many interactive sites to help visitors plan their visits and manage their time there. Both in Spanish and English, the same as the museum itself, the website has a collections plan and guides of what to see within a given amount of time. The collections plan is similar to the free map at the museum and can be located at https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/plan-de-colecciones-2009-2012/. It tells the overall layout after collection changes were made in 2012 and allows the viewer to see the different floors of the museum. It conveys the location of different types of artwork and artists, with specific paintings highlighted. The guide of what to see can be found at https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/what-to-see/ and outlines what it recommends to see within one, two, and three hour visits.
Protecting and displaying artwork for future generations, the Prado is one of the most famous landmarks in Madrid and Spain. It has changed over the centuries to encompass many different types of art and has expanded in recent years. With over 8,000 pieces of art, the Prado is extremely important to the cultural and artistic history of Spain.
“Historia del Museo.” museodelprado.es. Museo Nacional del Prado, 2014. https://www.museodelprado.es/la-institucion/historia-del-museo/. (accessed 6 April 2014).
“Museums and Art Centres.” esmadrid.com. MADRID DESTINO CULTURA TURISMO Y NEGOCIO, 2014. http://www.esmadrid.com/en/prado-museum. (accessed 6 April 2014).
“Prado Museum.” spain.info. Sociedad Estatal para la Gestión de la Innovación y las Tecnologías Turísticas, 2014. http://www.spain.info/en_US/que-quieres/arte/museos/madrid/museo_nacional_del_prado.html. (accessed 6 April 2014).
 “Museums and Art Centres,” esmadrid.com. MADRID DESTINO CULTURA TURISMO Y NEGOCIO, 2014, http://www.esmadrid.com/en/prado-museum (accessed 6 April 2014).
 “Historia del Museo,” museodelprado.es. Museo Nacional del Prado, 2014, https://www.museodelprado.es/la-institucion/historia-del-museo/ (accessed 6 April 2014).
 “Museums and Art Centres,” esmadrid.com. MADRID DESTINO CULTURA TURISMO Y NEGOCIO, 2014.
 “Prado Museum,” spain.info. Sociedad Estatal para la Gestión de la Innovación y las Tecnologías Turísticas, 2014, http://www.spain.info/en_US/que-quieres/arte/museos/madrid/museo_nacional_del_prado.html (accessed 6 April 2014).