Results 11-20of 26 Reviews
August 22, 2005
You walk through more than 20 halls filled with centuries-old artwork.
We were very fortunate, as we went on a day that was free to the public. They normally charge about 6€.
From journal 8 Days in Madrid - Beautiful!
July 12, 2005
From journal Madrid, Spain - Weekend in June 2005
May 19, 2005
Especially useful for us as we began our tour of the Prado was the three-page description with five color illustrations of Hiernomymus Bosch’s "The Garden of Delights" that I’d read in the profusely illustrated art book I’ve mentioned in the Overview. This extraordinary Bosch painting was a hot spot, around which a crowd was gathered at all times during our 3-hour visit. This startling work is full of medieval symbolism, some of it contrary to contemporary symbolism. For example, the owl, to us a creature of wisdom, as it was to the classical Greeks and Romans, represented evil to medieval minds. My husband was taken by this extraordinary work, and I was able to explain to him what some of the images might represent in this work and in Bosch’s "Table of the Seven Deadly Sins."
Portraiture faded in importance with the advent of 20th-century art, but I feel that some of the Prado’s greatest paintings are in this genre. We didn’t see any of the Black paintings of Goya, as time limits made me focus on works I HAD to see, and I prefer Goya’s less dark, often satiric earlier paintings. As if on cue, my husband took a look at Goya’s "The Family of Charles IV" and asked, "These people. Who were they? They look stupid. " My husband knew nothing about Charles and his infamous wife, but Goya’s art so captured Charles’s bland looks in such contrast to the smug, chin-jutting countenance of his consort that he instantly grasped the insipid nature of this royal ménage.
Other superb portraits I admire include Anthony Van Dyck’s "Self-portrait with Sir Endymion Porter," Rubens’ "Maria de Medici," Antonio Moro’s piercingly poignant "Mary Tudor," and El Greco’s "Nobleman With a Hand on His Chest." Titian’s self-portrait shines among the entire Titian collection of the Prado, along with his superb Emperor Charles V at Muhlberg. Raphael’s "The Cardinal" is also a potent portraiture.
Of course, great museums demand more than a 3-hour visit. By focusing beforehand on what you really want to see, I find you enjoy less but the things you do see more fully. Next year, the Prado’s expansion will be complete, and the new Prado promises to be more exciting than the old one we saw. Truly, Madrid is an art lover’s dream come true - a city that wants to make its treasures accessible to all.
From journal Magnificent Museum Madrid
March 24, 2005
From journal Madrid, Espana
February 2, 2005
From journal Prado, Royal Palace and Other Stories
September 1, 2004
Besides Spanish art, you’ll also see large collections from the Italian, Flemish, Dutch, and French schools. The German collection is smaller. Italian paintings (1300-1800) cover the gamut from the early Renaissance to the eighteenth century. There are also Greek and Roman sculptures.
The part of the museum that seemingly gets the most attention is Hall 89, where Goya’s two paintings The Clothed Maja and The Nude Maja can be found. Not unexpectedly, these two works caused a big scandal in their day, and were deemed to be obscene by the Inquisition in 1815.
For me personally, the most stunning pieces by a wide margin were Goya’s two documentary masterpieces depicting the uprising against occupying French forces on May 2, 1808 and the subsequent executions of the remaining resisters the following day. Both paintings are located side by side in room 39 of the Villenueva Building, and project a powerful message.
In The 2nd of May, 1808 Goya depicts the brutality of war. Local villagers armed with little more than knives clash with members of the well-armed French Calvary.
In The 3rd of May, 1808: The Executions on Principe Pio Hill Goya’s victim, harshly illuminated by a bright lantern, is dressed in a clean white shirt, and his outstretched arms bear resemblance to the Crucifixion. The physical features of the firing squad are obscured, yet their uniforms are painted in precise detail. The silhouette of the church is the only detail visible in the dimly lit background. Interestingly, although the painting was commissioned by the state, it was held in storage and went unseen by the public for forty years after it was painted.
The grounds outside the Museo Nacional del Prado.
Most of the Prado’s collection is not what I’d consider closely aligned with my own personal tastes. But that’s not to say there’s not a lot to like here: I’m a bit of a sucker for Caravaggio, so I enjoyed seeing David and Goliath, and I can appreciate Botticelli’s The Story of Nastagio degli Onesti (first episode). And after all, spending time in Madrid and not seeing the Prado would be like being in Paris and not going to the Louvre or visiting Florence and skipping the Uffizi.
Metro: Banco de España (L2), Atocha (L1)
From journal Madrid From Kilometer Zero
December 11, 2003
From journal New Year in Madrid
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
May 3, 2003
The added bonus this time was the exhibit "Vermeer and the Dutch interior," which covers works of Vermeer, Borch, Dou, de Hooch, Maes, Metsu and Steen during the period of 1650-1675. Vermeer is probably the most famous of this group of painters, which is typically skipped by the visitors to most museums, but this particular exhibit has been put together with paintings from all over the world: New York, Washington D.C., Vienna, Amsterdam, Dresden, Paris, St Peterburg (Russia) and many other places -- Spain doesn’t own any of Vermeer’s paintings. The main subjects in all of the paintings are mainly women in their regular life –- sewing, dressing, writing, drawing, playing musical instruments -- and the play of the light and perspective is what draws us to these images. Eight out of 34 works painted by Vermeer in his lifetime are presented in Prado, with his "Young Woman with a Water Pitcher" as the cover painting for the exhibit. The uniqueness of this exhibit is that you can compare the style of several painters side by side and see why Vermeer stands out from the rest of the group.
From journal Travels to Spain - Madrid
On the second floor you encounter what you came here for: the Spanish masters. Large halls with Velazquez’s famous portraits of the little infanta so live that you think she is just waiting to step off from the painting and regal Felipe IV, his portraits of kings and regular people. Alongside in the gallery parallel to the rooms with Velazquez’s paintings are Ribera’s works, full of drama adapted by him from Caravaggio, and Murillo’s Madonnas and saints with this very recognizable Seville school of painting that has been copied from him in a lot of church paintings throughout Spain. Other rooms have the rare works by Zurbaran, Rubens (a huge collection of Rubens’ paintings –- truly remarkable), Van Dyck, Teniers, Rembrandt, Guetchino, Caravaggio, Reni, Tiepolo, Poussin, and all the way on the other side of the floor is what everybody comes to Madrid for -– Goya’s works from all periods of his life: portraits of the royalty on horses and without, the famous Majas for which he was very criticized, sketches for the tapestries in El Pardo, and the dark reaction to the horrors of the Napoleonic wars in many paintings, the most powerful of which are probably "Saturn Devouring One of His Sons" and "The 3rd of May in Madrid" showing execution of Spanish by the French troops.
Continued in Part III
The best time to visit Prado is Sunday because admission is free, but this means that you will have to wait in line to get in. If you want to see the Vermeer exhibit (which I encourage you to see), there is a separate line, so if you are planning on seeing both, get in the line to see Vermeer and you will get two separate tickets.
The entrance to the museum is through the Goya entrance located on the planta baja (lower floor) on the corner of Paseo del Prado and Plaza de las Cortes. The museum building is very large but not extremely impressive in its architecture. It is a typical neo-classical building built in 1785. It has several entrances each named after the most important Spanish painters of the 17-19th centuries: Goya entrance, Velazquez entrance, Murillo entrance, and next to each of these entrances you will see a sculpture of the painter the entrance is named after.
Prado museum is very large, so prepare to spend at least four hours there. Photography is allowed, but without flash, so you better bring some 400 or 800 speed film, because I promise you, you will want to take pictures. One of the unique features of this museum is that in a lot of the rooms you can buy a book on the particular painter or a period for 1€. Even though these books are rather small, they''re very good.
So now let’s start with the museum collection. Obviously this museum has the largest collection of Spanish painters, but when you enter, the whole first floor has very little of Spanish school. Here you will find icons dating back to the 12-13th centuries, followed by Italian Renaissance rooms with paintings by Mantegna, Rafael (a copy of "Transfiguration"), del Sarto, Veronese, Tintoretto, Bellini, four rooms of Titian’s paintings (Titian’s "Danae" is currently on loan to the National Gallery in London, where there is currently a large exhibit of Titian’s paintings that I also highly recommend). Then there is Spanish art with Gothic works by Bermejo, the mannerist style of Luis Morales, and even more so of El Greco’s paintings of apostles and portraits of nobility: here is "Santo Tomas" - his signature piece.
Continued in Part II
Cason del Buen Retiro is closed for restoration.
Phone: 91 330 28 00
Open: Tues–Sun 9am–7pm
Closed on Mondays, Jan 1, Good Friday, May 1, and Dec 25.
Prices: 3.01€–adults, 1.5€–students
Free: Sundays, May 18, Oct 12, and Dec 6. Always free for children and seniors (over 65).