“Real museums are places where Time is transformed into Space”Orhan Pamuk
In 2019 we celebrate the Bicentennial of the Museo del Prado in Madrid. It first opened to the public in 1819 with a collection of 311 paintings by Spanish artists. For the past 200 years, it has become one of the main Spanish cultural institutions of international reference. This year it received the Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2019.
One of the main reasons it was built in 1819 was because of the Spanish government’s interest to protect Spanish art after a time of plundering following the French occupation in the days of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Museo del Prado has gone through great evolution in these past 200 years. Up until the Spanish Museum of Modern Art creation in 1898, it was used for exhibiting works of contemporary artists that were still alive and could only be visited by nobility. The works of Velázquez were some of the most admired by other great artists of the time who visited the museum, like Manet.
The museum was hit by nine bombs during the Spanish Civil War, so its artistic heritage had to be moved to Geneva (Switzerland) until peace was restored once again in 1939.
As of today, the Museo del Prado is proud to be one of the top five museums in the world. It has approximately three million visitors each year, with an increasingly wide cultural offer and accessible to everyone almost every day of the year.
Which are the most famous pieces of art in Museo del Prado?
Some of the most famous are works of Velázquez (“Las Meninas”, “Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan”, “Las Hilanderas”) and Goya (“La Maja desnuda”, “Saturn Devouring His Son”, “El 3 de Mayo”). Some other important paintings are “The Three Graces” and “el Duque de Lerma” by Rubens, “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by El Bosco, “La Sagrada Familia del Pajarito” by Murillo, “Chicos en la Playa” by Sorolla, “The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest” by El Greco and “David and Goliath” by Caravaggio, among many others.
Happy 200 years of Public Art!