One of the top museums in Madrid, the Museo del Prado is also amongst the best museums in the entire world. The 1,500 paintings on display here form just a tiny sliver of its complete collection. Art enthusiasts will likely need to set aside more than one day to explore these hallowed halls.
The Prado’s greatest draws are the two ultimate Spanish artists, Goya and Velazquez. Francisco Goya, a painter of the Romantic era in the early 19th century, is well represented on all three of the museum’s floors. His “Las pinturas negras”, or dark paintings, cast a distorted and disturbed vision of Spain. Other notable works by Goya on display include “La maja vestida”, “La maja desnuda”, “El dos de mayo”, and “El tres de mayo”. Works by Spanish Golden Age leader Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez also draw in many visitors. His most famous displayed painting is “Las meninas”, portraying Felipe IV and his family. Many other royal portraits by Velazquez grace the Prado as well.
The nearest Metro station is the Banco de Espana. The Museo del Prado lies to the south, and visitors will likely pass through the easternmost edge of the Cortes neighbourhood to reach it.
Before opening as an art collection in the early 19th century, the Museo del Prado began as a neoclassical palace. After an interim period as a Napoleonic cavalry barracks, King Fernando VII sought a place to store hundreds of royal paintings, and so one of the world’s foremost art museums was born.