I wrote in an older post, here – about the opportunity to visit the Golden Triangle free of charge within certain time frames. The Prado Museum was first opened in 1819 by King Ferdinand VII, whose paintings can be seen in the main gallery painted by Goya. The museum houses thousands of masterpieces from 1000 years ago until the 20th century, making a visit here become a trip in itself. Sometimes time does not allow us, sometimes free entry forces us to minimize the visit. I recommend when you enter, to take a map of the museum or print the one below.
I’ll write down the itinerary of a cultural marathon through the corridors of the Prado Museum to see the most important masterpieces:
- From the entrance, go straight to the Renaissance in room 58 B where you will see paintings by Botticeli, Rafael, Fra Angelico, including Andorra Mantegna’s Assumption (1492).
- The kings of Spain loved the Flemish painting, so there is no need to miss the gallery of the Flemish painters in room 58. Admire Rogier van der Weyden’s “The Descent from the Cross“, observe the translucent tears on the faces of the characters, the gestures of pain.
- In room 56 are the masterpieces of Hieronymus Bosch, about whose life and work you can read here. “The Garden of Earthly Delights” (circa 1500) is a place of pilgrimage for lovers of art.
- Take the elevator to the first floor, then right as you exit the elevator in the spectacular gallery that forms the building’s column. Here are the pictures of the masters of the golden years of Spain: José de Ribera, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. In the north of the gallery, Bellini, Titian and Tintoretto are exposed in rooms 40-44. Mandatory to see – “Las Meninas,” the famous opera of Velasquez (1599-1660), in room 12 – an impressive painting, in terms of technique, light, originality of the mysterious story hidden in the characters. Velasquez was the painter of the Royal House during King Philip IV, and this painting is the equivalent of the Louvre Mona Lisa for the Prado Museum.
- Another important landmark of Spanish culture is Goya (1746-1828), a romantic painter whose works are housed in the central gallery. Considered one of the greatest porters of the 18th-19th century, Goya painted numerous paintings for the upholstery industry. Do not miss the portraits of Kings Ferdinand VII and Carlos IV in Gallery 32 and “May 2, 1808” and “May 3, 1808”; the last two are paintings against the war, Goya remaining in Madrid when Napoleon conquered Madrid during the Peninsula War.
- You can also see paintings by Federico de Madrazo, Joaquín Sorolla and Mariano Fortuny, who complete the history of the Spanish painting between Goya and Picasso. Now the tour is over, but you can continue the story until our contemporary days, visiting the Reina Sofia Museum that houses one of Picasso’s essential works, of which I wrote here.
Congratulations, you visited Prado in two hours!