Useful Links
Prado Website
For more information on the Prado visit this great site. As the official Prado website it has the most up-to-date information and images of this wonderful museum.
Paintings in the Louvre
Read the review of this magnificent art resource by Sir Lawrence Gowing.
Great Art Museums
The Louvre
Featured Artist
The following are some examples of paintings by Velázquez that you will find in the outstanding collection held in the Prado.
The Prado

Madrid, Spain

The Prado is located in Madrid, Spain on the central Paseo del Prado and is home to one of the most important and spectacular collections of European art.

Designed by the architect, Juan de Villanueva, the neo-classic building was originally intended to be the Natural Sciences Museum.

Western Frontage - "Door of Velázquez".

In 1774, however, when a Czech painter Anton Mengs canvassed the idea of a national gallery of art to house the royal collection, Joseph Bonapart (brother of Napoleon) was in agreeance and in 1810 redesignated the science museum as an art museum.

When, after restorations, the building opened in 1819 under Ferdinand VII, it was one of the world's first public art galleries. Called the Royal Museum of Painting of the Prado, it was later renamed the National Museum in 1868 when Queen Isabella II went into exile.

The royal collection, which was the nucleus of the Prado's work, was assembled when Spain became a unitary state at the end of the 15th century. Isabella the Catholic was exceedingly partial to Flemish art. Later the collection grew from the patronage of Charles V who enlarged the initial body of work with additions from various national schools. Most importantly perhaps was his being a most avid collector and admirer of Titian's work, an interest which was continued by his son Philip II (1556 - 98). In the 17th century, Philip IV added great impetus to the collection by acquiring masterpieces from the collection of Charles I of England. Philip IV also had the good fortune and insight to appoint one of Spanish art's masters, Diego Velázquez as court painter. Francisco Goya was appointed court painter in the latter part of the 18th century and acquisitions continued through the 19th century. When Queen Isabella II went into exile, the collection gained from her estate.

Centuries of enthusiastic collecting by the royal family of Spain have accumulated one of the richest and most complete collection of Spanish paintings in the world as well as an important representation of European masterpieces. Of the more than 9000 paintings contained in the Prado, 1500 can only be displayed at one time. This comprehensive collection includes works by: Raphael, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Veronese, Bosch, Dürer, Caravaggio, Titian, Poussin, Rubens, Zurbarán, El Greco and Velázquez.


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