Prado Museum (Madrid, Spain)

This photograph of the Prado Museum was taken on January 8, 2008 by Brian Snelson.
This photograph of the Prado Museum was taken on January 8, 2008 by Brian Snelson. | Source

One of the Most Important Museums in Spain

The Prado Museum (Museo del Prado) in Madrid, Spain is one of the most important museums in Spain and one of the most notable in the world. The museum houses the richest and most complete collection of Spanish paintings that exists anywhere.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Goya), Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Velázquez), Doménikos Theotokópoulos (El Greco)

Of the 30,000 paintings in the museum’s collection, almost 10,000 are from the Spanish school of painting. There are approximately 100 paintings by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (usually referred to merely as Goya), 50 paintings by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (usually just referred to as Velázquez), 50 paintings by José de Ribera, and 20 painting each by Doménikos Theotokópoulos (El Greco), Francisco de Zurbarán, and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

Flemish artist Jacob Jordaens painted "The Family of the Artist" circa 1621. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
Flemish artist Jacob Jordaens painted "The Family of the Artist" circa 1621. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. | Source

Flemish Paintings and Italian Paintings in the Prado

There are numerous Flemish and Italian paintings at the Prado. The reason for this is evident if you know something about world history.

In the 16th century, Spain was the most important European monarchy. At this same time, Italian and Flemish painting were flourishing. Italy and what is now Belgium were under the geopolitical rule of Spain. The representatives of the Spanish king in both Italy and Belgium—the Viceroys—found themselves in the position of being able to select the best Italian and Flemish paintings to enhance their monarch’s collection of works of art.

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Spanish National Gallery

The idea of a Spanish national gallery was formed at the turn of the eighteenth century. It was caused, in part, by a new interest in history and museums that was aroused by the Age of Enlightenment. Unlike the Age of Enlightenment (Age of Reason) whose purpose was to advance knowledge and reform society, the idea for a Spanish national gallery came from the monarchy. When the first museum was opened in 1819, it was called The Royal Museum of Painting of the Prado.

In 1800, a minister named Urquijo wished to create a complex for teaching fine arts at court and in schools and museums. In 1809, the plans for creating a “museum of painting” were announced. The Napoleonic wars got in the way of these plans, and it wasn’t until 1814, when King Ferdinand VII was returned to power that the construction of a building to hold 311 Spanish paintings was begun. When the museum was opened five years later, it was housed in the palace of the Prado, whose construction was begun 50 years earlier under Charles III, as the headquarters of the Academy and Museum of the Sciences.

National Museum of the Prado

The entire contents of the original museum came from royal collections. The number of paintings in the Prado grew rapidly, as works were taken from palaces belonging to the crown. In 1821, 195 paintings by Italian painters were added. The building was enlarged between 1826 and 1828, and the size of the collection increased to 700 paintings. Ferdinand’s daughter, Isabella II, tripled the figure of 700 paintings during the 30 years of her reign. When Isabella II went into exile in 1868, The Royal Museum of Painting of the Prado became the National Museum of the Prado.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes' "The Clothed Maja"

"The Clothed Maja" ("La Maja Vestida') was painted by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes circa 1780. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
"The Clothed Maja" ("La Maja Vestida') was painted by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes circa 1780. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. | Source

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Comments 21 comments

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I was fortunate to visit this museum and agree it is one of the most notable in the world. But sadly, Picasso's "Guernica" was moved from here some years back to another museum. I think that masterpiece belongs here. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Aurelio (alocsin),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting.

"Guernica" is still in Madrid, but in 1992 it was moved from the Prado to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The move coincided with the opening of that museum, which occurred during the time of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Madrid.


Eric Prado profile image

Eric Prado 4 years ago from Webster, Texas

Very interesting hub. Voted up and awesome. =)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Eric,

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for viewing my video, reading my Hub, and commenting in it.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Oh, the Museo del Prado!! After visiting there, I did a pastel version of the "3rd of May." What an interesting hub and you totally brought me back to the museum! I want to return there someday. I loved it. Thanks for sharing.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Cyndi (cclitgirl),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting in another of my Hubs. I appreciate your continued support.

The only "problem" I have with writing my museum Hubs and geography quizzes is that I want to travel to nearly all the destinations I mention.


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

I loved visiting this museum! I saw a couple of Goya paintings and they were of course filled with light. Alocsin, I saw Guernica at the Museo Nacional... it would be breathtaking wherever it is housed. :^)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rachel (theclevercat),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting.

My major in college was Fine Arts (plus Art Education). One paper stands out among all those I wrote for school assignments. I discussed just one painting, but there was more than enought reference material for me to use, The painting was Guernica.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting. Thanks for this informative and fascinating hub. The Prado is one museum I haven't heard much about. Enjoyed the video. Passing this on.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rasma (Gypsy Rose Lee),

Thanks for viewing my video and reading my article, commenting in it, and sharing it. I appreciate your continued support.

The Prado doesn't seem to receive as much press as some other national museums, but I'm not certain why.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Daisy, great video and a very interesting hub. I can actually fly to Madrid from my local airport so I have no excuse for not seeing the Prado in the future sometime. I think the Spanish monarchy seem very enlightened about the arts at a time when other nations had not really 'gotten' the cultural benefits of art to a wider audience.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Julie (Jools99),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. I appreciate your continued support.

If you can easily travel to Madrid, a long weekend in Spain and a day at the Prado might be in order. Please post another comment upon your return.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Will do! I am lucky enough to live not too far away from an airport with links to a lot of European capitals, I just need the money to get there!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Julie,

Thanks for visiting again. May I ask which airport you use? It's great you can easily fly to European capitals from there!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Newcastle Airport, it's in North East England. Sorry I took so long to reply, been out.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Now here is a place that would be on my bucketlist to see, if I had one. So much to view and to experience. Thanks for sharing.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Dianna (teaches12345),

I agree with you. The Prado is a great choice for a bucket list item. I hope you get to visit the museum some day.

Thanks for viewing my video and reading the article.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

Marvellous ! It'll be a crime if I don't go here as it is only a couple of hours away by flight from where I live. Goes right on top of my list of places to visit soon. Thanks to your succinct and scintillating summar, Daisy. Thank you!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mohan (Docmo),

Thanks for taking the time while you're on vacation to view my video, read my article, and comment. As always, I appreciate your continued support.

Please post another comment after you've visited the museum. I'd love to hear your opinion of it.

Did you recognize the music playing in the background of the video? It's from one of my favorite operas.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Daisy, I could not watch the video because connection is very slow at the moment. However, I found this hub very informative. Paintings you chose to feature with this hub are fabulous.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Vinaya,

Thanks for reading and commenting in my article. I know you'll try again to view the video when you have a better Internet connection in Nepal.

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