Museo del Prado is Spain’s largest and most famous art museum, and Madrid’s best-known attraction. Featuring some 20,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and historic documents, it’s a fantastic place to embrace Spain’s cultural history.
Museo del Prado is the world’s best collection of Spanish art and one of the most notable collections of European art, making it one of the most visited galleries in Europe. Flemish, Dutch, German, French and Italian works are on display, as well as work from Spain’s masters – Goya, Velázquez, and El Greco are favourites. Spread across three floors, it’s a staggering display of some eight centuries of European art.
The Spanish masters are the reason most come to visit. Great halls house the works of Velázquez, notable the massive state portrait of King Philip IV and his court – his merticulous brushstrokes and superb colour control is worth admiring. Goya’s political works are on display on the first and second floor – keep an eye out for The 2nd of May, which portrays the rebellion at the Puerta del Sol, and The 3rd of May which gruesomely depicts the execution of the patriots who rebelled. El Greco’s groundbreaking works are on display on the second floor, where his impressionistic, elongated forms replace the realistic figures of traditional European art. Other key works are the stunning Spanish Romanesque murals, and works from the French and Italian renaissance – most of the first floor is dedicated to these.
It’s a phenomenal amount of artwork to take in, and it’s impossible to do every piece justice in a single visit. The best advice is to spend as much or as little time as you have here, and try to spread the experience across multiple visits. Free maps will help guide you to the must-sees, and three routs have been devised that take viewers on journeys through the galleries to visit the most important pieces in the museum – routes of 15, 30 or 50 works can be explored. Antón Martín on Subway Line 1 brings visitors within ten minutes walk of Museo del Prado, or buses 6, 26 and 32 stop nearby.