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March 11th, 2004 in Madrid, Spain.
Madrid, Spain
March 11th, 2004
Remember the victims
Madrid Museums: Page 1

| The Avenue of Art | Prado Museum | El Casón del Buen Retiro |
| Thyssen Bornemisza Museum | Centro de Arte Reina Sofía National Museum |
| Museo Arqueológico Nacional | Museo de América | Museo del Ferrocarril |

Madrid Museums: Page 1


The Avenue of Art is an itinerary, unique in the entire world, which includes painting, sculpture, architecture and natural beauty, set in one of the most emblematic areas of Madrid; The Paseo del Prado. This is an area which the inhabitants of Madrid hold very dear and which they can easily explore on foot. It includes three of the most important museums of Spain; the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía National Museum. Only one place in all the world, only the Paseo del Prado, offers, in such a short space, the opportunity to see art works of the quality of The Meninas of Velázquez, Las Majas of Goya, Giovanna Tornabuoni by Ghirlandajo, "Les Vessenots" en Auvers by Van Gogh and the Guernica by Picasso, as well as other masterpieces of world art.

During the reign of Carlos III (1759-1789), in the middle of the Enlightenment, urban reformation was planned for what at the time was the outskirts of the city; the meadow (Prado) of San Jerónimo. The Salón del Prado, the name given to this large reformation project, covered the river bed which crossed the meadow, transforming this area, thickly covered with trees, into a park with gardens and fountains. Cibeles, Apollo and the Four Seasons and Neptune, constructed by the architect Ventura Rodríguez, are still with us today. Between two palaces on either side, the Museum of Natural History (today the principal building of the Prado), the Botanical Garden, and the Astronomical Observatory were built. All were designed by another one of the King's great architects; Juan de Villanueva.

One of the itineraries for the visitor to Madrid is the artistic triangle centered around the Paseo del Prado. It offers the opportunity to enjoy art history and some of the city's finest sights.

The Prado National Museum contains the world's best collection of Spanish painting, that is, of recognized geniuses of world art such as El Greco, Velázquez, Goya. Also represented are the great artists of the Siglo de Oro (Golden Century); Ribera, Zurbarán and Murillo. The Prado contains some of the best Flemish paintings, such as works by Van der Weyden and Hieronymous Bosch, as well as Italian art, including the most complete collection of Titian and other painters of the Venice School contained in a single museum. And the collections of German, French and English art, although smaller than the others, contain first-class works.

Since its establishment, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has provided a perfect complement to the Prado. What is missing in the Prado, is splendidly represented at the Thyssen. This special relationship begins with the Italian primitives, of which the Prado offers Fra Angelico's masterpiece, Assumption. The Thyssen, on the other hand, contains a numerous and important collection from this period.

The new museum also has excellent samples of the German Renaissance and Dutch painting of the 17th century, of which the Prado contains few works, and 19th century American painting, virtually non-existent in Spain.

Impressionism, the beginning of modern painting, previously absent from Spanish museums, as well as German expressionism, Russian Constructivism, Geometric Abstraction and Pop Art, are all part of the Thyssen Collection and add a wonderful new section to the Avenue of Art. The itinerary closes with the masterpiece of our century: Picasso's Guernica, the centerpiece of the 20th century art collection exhibited at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía National Museum. The collection is made up primarily of Spanish painting and sculpture; Picasso, Juan Gris, Miró, Dalí, Chillida and Tapies as well as more recent artists. Without a doubt, this Avenue is unique in all the world.

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Prado Museum - Museo del Prado

Important painters of world art such as El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya, Van der Weyden, Hieronymous Bosch, Titian and Rubens are represented in the collection of the Prado Museum, widely considered one of the world's richest in quality and variety of paintings.

Isabel de Braganza, the wife of Fernando VII, was the patron of the museum and is commemorated by a statue by Álvarez Cubero exhibited within the Prado.

In addition, a portrait by Bernardo López shows the museum's patron pointing to the building, surrounded by building plans (in the Casón del Buen Retiro). The building was originally designed by Carlos III and his architect, Juan de Villanueva, as the Museum of Natural History and Academy of the Sciences in 1785. The Queen initiated the renovation of the structure for its new purpose but died before it was inaugurated as the Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture in 1819.

The Spanish monarchs, especially Carlos V, Felipe II and Felipe IV, were great art collections. The first works exhibited in the museum were from the Royal Collections of the 16th-19th centuries, In 1870, the collection of the Trinidad Museum was transferred to the Prado. Later donations and acquisitions enormously enriched the collection which today includes painting from the 11th-19th centuries, classic and modern sculpture, drawings and decorative arts. The Prado museum contains, in the building designed by Villanueva, the world's most complete collection of Spanish painting from the 11th-18th centuries. Painting and sculptures of the 19th century are exhibited in the Casón del Buen Retiro, the annex of the Prado Museum.

The oldest art works provide the visitor with an invaluable introduction to Spanish art before entering the halls of El Greco, Velázquez and Goya. The museum contains works from the Romanesque period such as the Frescoes of San Baudelio de Berianga, from the province of Soria, and the Frescoes of Santa Cruz de Maderuelo, from the province of Segovia. And it exhibits works from the Gothic period, such as Christ Blessing, by Fernando Gallego, and Santo Domingo de Silos, by Bartolomé Bermejo as well as the Leonardo da Vinci style of the Renaissance work, Santa Catalina, by Yáñez de la Almedina.

The Crete-born painter who settled in Toledo, El Greco, shows the influence of Michaelangelo in his work, The Trinity. The maturity of his The Adoration of the Pastors condenses the mastery and the particular style of the painter; tall, extended figures and strong contrasts of lighting. Among the portraits, the most important and representative is The Knight with a Hand on his Chest ("El Caballero de la mano en el pecho").

The 17th century is called Siglo de Oro because of the flourishing of the arts which took place during this period. The Prado Museum contains a good collection of the period's painting, awarding the place of honor to Velázquez. Born in Seville, he arrived in Madrid in 1622 and the following year was named Royal Painter by Felipe IV, post which he held until his death. Of the over 100 paintings of this artist, the Prado possesses 51, including his masterpieces; Las Meninas and Las Hilanderas. These are mature works in which Velázquez makes atmosphere the protagonist of his compositions. The Forge of Vulcan, Las Lanzas (The Surrender of Breda) and Christ Crucified, introduce the extraordinary collection which can be seen in the museum and covers different periods and theme portraits, religion, mythology, history and landscapes. The museum has numerous works of other great painters of the Siglo de Oro such as Ribalta, Ribera (called the "Spagnoletto"), Zurbarán and Murillo.

Goya, a genius and international figure like Velázquez as well as the Royal Painter of Carlos IV, is also represented at the Prado in all his periods and facets. He was a cultured man and trustworthy chronicler of the crucial period of Spanish history in which he lived. His tremendous creative capacity and continual evolution illustrated a unique style which later served as a basis for many artistic forms of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Goya's style was cheerful and colorful in his cartoons for tapestries based on popular subjects: The Parasol, The Flowers or The Spring and La Maja y los embozados. His art evolved continually until reaching the period, when, as an old man, he painted the Black Paintings of the Quinta del Sordo such as Aquelarre or Saturn Devouring His Son.

In his numerous portraits the artist represented the personality of the subjects and his liking or disliking of them. The Family of Carlos IV or The Dukes of Osuna and their Children show a special affection for the children. Las Majas, clothed and naked, on which centuries of speculations have not managed to uncover the identity of the model, are perhaps his most famous works.

The 2nd of May of 1808 in Madrid: the Fight with the Mamelukes and The 3rd of May of 1808 in Madrid: the Executions on the Príncipe Pío Mountain, are landmarks of art history for the dramatic nature of the events which Goya captured with such vividness. Some of the best paintings of the museum are the work of Flemish artists: The Descent from the Cross, by Van der Weyden, a paradigm of the primitive artists of the 15th century, as well as Pity and The Virgin with Child. The Garden of Delights and the Hay Cart, top off the list of works by Hieronymous Bosch.

The Pass of the Styx stands out among the work of Patinir, the first artist to concentrate an landscapes in his compositions. And The Triumph of Death is a mature work and masterpiece at the artist, Brueghel the Elder.

The Three Graces by Rubens heads the excellent and numerous collection of the most representative Flemish painter of the 18th century. An important collection of Van Dyck and of high quality still lifes, flowers and landscapes, justify the classification of the Flemish painting of the Prado as among the best in the world.

In terms of Italian painting, the Prado boasts The Assumption by Fra Angelico, the Boticelli series Tale of Nastagio degli Honesti, the Dead Christ by Messina and The Death of the Virgin by Mantegna. Paintings of the 16th century include The Portrait of a Cardinal and The Sacred Family of the Lamb by Raphael, as well as works by Andrea del Sarto (Lucrecia di Baccio) and Correggio. Titian and the Venetian School stand out among the Italians and the Prado's collection of their work is considered the most valuable contained in any museum. The paintings by Titian include Carlos V in the Battle of Muhlberg, The Empress Isabel of Portugal, Danae Receiving Golden Rain, The Bachanal, Offering to Venus, Venus and Adonis and the Self-Portrait. The works of Tintoretto include The Lavatory, and those of Veronese, Venus and Adonis and Moses Saved from the Waters of the Nile. From the Naples school, the Museum possesses The Dream of Salomon by Giordano, and from the 18th century, The Immaculate Conception by Tiepolo.

The interesting collection of French painting includes The Parnassus by Poussin, Embarkment at Ostila by Sant Paula by Claude Lorraine and Party in a Park by Watteau as well as other painters of the 17th and 18th centuries. It has recently been expanded with The Panpipe Player by De la Tour. At the head of the Dutch works, is one of the masterpieces of Rembrandt, Artemis, together with still lifes and landscapes representative of Dutch art, which developed its own style, differentiating itself from Flemish art at the end of the 16th century.

The canvasses of Adam and Eve, the Self-portrait of Durer and a series of portraits by Mengs, make up the collection of German painting, Mengs was the Royal Painter of Carlos III, the first to suggest to the King the creation of a museum open to the public. He is the author of a delicate portrait of María Luisa de parma, Hapsburg Princess. The museum also contains important works of the 18th and 19th centuries (Gainsborough, Reynolds, Romney and Lawrence).

Some 700 sculptures, a collection begun at the behest of Felipe II, complement the exceptional collection of paintings. The collection runs from the ancient period (Sumerian, Egyptian, Ancient and Classic Greek and Roman) to the 19th century.

The classical sculpture includes important pieces such as The Venus of Madrid and The Venus of the Conch. The collection of Queen Christine of Sweden, The Saint Ildefonso Group, is the most valuable of the museum. It was acquired by Felipe V. The most noteworthy pieces of the Renaissance are the bronze sculptures of Leon Leoni and Pampeo Leoni: The Emperor Carlos V and the Fury and The Empress Isabel.

The Treasure of the Dauphin which Felipe V inherited from Louis XIV is made up of opulent carved glasses, silverware, jewels and other pieces, such as an onyx salt shaker with a golden mermaid. It also contains furniture, stamps, enamelware and gold and silverware which beautify the decorative arts collection of the Prado Museum.

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El Casón del Buen Retiro (CURRENTLY CLOSED)

The Casón del Buen Retiro was the Dance Hall of the palace built by Felipe IV. Luca Giordano painted the frescoes of the principal hall of the Casón.

The collection includes some magnificent portraits by Vicente López, such as María Cristina de Borbón, Isabel de Braganza and Fernando VII, although perhaps the best work is that of Goya, which overlooks the hall. Also noteworthy is The Death of Viriato by José de Madrazo, Las Presidentas, by Eugenio Lucas, similar to the Majas of Goya. Alenza painted La Azotaina, and Esquivel, the famous The Contemporary Poets.Federico de Madrazo is the author of one of the most important portraits of the entire 19th century, that of The Countess of Vilches. The most famous painting of Rosales, The Will of Isabel the Catholic, and of Fortuny, The Children of the Painter in the Japanese Hall, are exhibited at the Casón. Also present are one of the first paintings of Sorolla, They Still Say that Fish is Expensive, as well as his magnificent Children of the Beach.

The landscapes of Carlos de Haes include The Picos de Europa. Also housed at the Casón are Winter Landscape by Beruete, The Vine, by Regoyos, Aranjuez Garden, by Rusiñol, Moguda Waters by Joaquín Mir and Houses of Segovia, by Zuloaga.

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Useful Info: Prado & Casón del Buen Retiro


Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid
Telephone: 34 91 330 28 00 Fax: 34 91 330 28 56


OPEN: Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
OPEN: Holidays, 24th and 31st December: 9:00-2:00pm
CLOSED: Mondays, 1st January, 1st May, 25th December, Easter Friday
(Last admission 30 minutes before closing time. Galleries emptied 10 minutes before closing time)

Tickets & Entry

Entrance Fees:

6 Euros general public, 3 Euros for students from non-EU countries aged under 25
Free Entrance for Visitors under 18 years, over 65, retired or permanently disabled, Unemployed visitors from EU countries, Students from EU countries aged under 25, Staff of Spanish State Museums run by the Ministry of Culture, National and local tourist guides, Teachers whose subjects are directly related to the contents of the Museum and who are engaged in teaching during the visit

Free entry days:

Sundays (9am to 7pm)
12 October (Hispanidad Day)
6 December (Constitution Day)
2 May (Official Day, Region of Madrid)
18 May (International Museums Day)

Educational Groups

Visiting times:
Tuedays 1pm and 5.30pm
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 9am to 5.30pm


Tel.: 00 34 91 330 28 25 & 00 34 91 330 28 31
Fax: 00 34 91 330 28 59

Educational Group Schedule In Advance:

Information and reservations telephone number: (91) 330 29 00
Hours: from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sundays and holidays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

GALLERY CLOSURES (updated January 30, 2005):

Galleries 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83 and 84, as well as the Drawings Room, all located on the second floor of the north wing of the building, are currently closed due to work on the expansion of the Museo Nacional del Prado.


Metro: Banco de España and Atocha stations
Buses: Lines 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37 and 45
By rail: Atocha Station

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