The Prado (Museo Nacional del Prado) is one of the world’s most prestigious art museums. It was commissioned in 1785 by King Carlos III to showcase Spanish talent and taste. The royal collection has formed the core of the museum’s inventory since it opened to the public in 1819. The collection has expanded over the years to include works from other European nations and even ancient Greek and Roman statues.
Spend hours wandering from hall to hall and admire some of the finest artworks of the Western world. The permanent collection consists of more than 20,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, with roughly 1,300 on display at any one time. Art lovers can look forward to the world’s largest concentration of Spanish works, an impressive array of French, Italian, Dutch and Flemish paintings, as well as a selection of German and English art.
Be absorbed by Velázquez’s Las Meninas, one of the museum’s most popular pieces. For a look at other masterpieces, check out the gallery housing Francisco de Goya’s Black Paintings. They were painted as murals in the artist’s house between 1819 and 1823 and are renowned as some of the most unsettling works in the collection.
Keep exploring to find paintings by Titian, Botticelli, Rubens, Bosch, Dürer and many others. Few museums can boast such a rich collection of the Western world’s most valuable artistic treasures; you’ll need to set aside at least a day to see them all.
The Prado is a short walk from Puerta del Sol down Carrera de San Jerónimo and along the Paseo del Prado. The museum is open daily except New Year’s Day, May 1 and Christmas Day. There’s an admission fee, but students and seniors get a discount.