The Museo Nacional del Prado, Prado for short, houses one of the most cohesive and refined collections of European art dating from the 12th century to the early 19th century, as well as the single most consolidated collection of Spanish art. It is considered to be one of the greatest museums of art and as such it is one on the most visited art museums in the world. Located within short walking distance to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Museo Reina Sofia, it comprises the Golden Triangle of Art in conjunction with the other two museums.
The entire collection contains about 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, as well as numerous other forms of art and historical documents. Of that about 1,300 masterpieces are displayed within the main building for viewing, with the rest either being in storage or on loan to other museums. However, despite the seemingly limited selection made available for viewing, the viewable collection is in fact massive in size and can take hours upon hours to view it in its entirety. The ground floor alone can take just under two hours to make your way through the impressive display of 12th century to 16th century altar pieces, religious paintings, restored frescoes and roofs, and Roman marble sculptures, just to name a few items. Highlights of the museum’s displayed masterpieces are from Francisco de Goya, Diego Velasquez, Hieronymus Bosch, Rogier van der Weyden, Rafael, and countless others.
The recent addition of a new wing has expanded the space and is currently being used to showcase temporary exhibits.
Meticulous efforts have been taken to display the collection in a manner most complementary to the masterpieces, achieving a much-appreciated fluidity throughout what could be a very overwhelming museum. In addition, information panels within each room help to clarify the context of the featured works of art and their relations to greater themes in the art world. It is highly suggested visitors take the time to read these panels, as they will greatly enhance the visit.
To assist visitors in making the most out of their visits in the allotted time they have, the museum’s official website has pre-planned routes throughout the museum on the 1-hour, 2-hour, and 3-hour time frames that guide visitors to the museum’s major masterpieces. Also available at the information desk are pamphlets in a variety of languages with maps and locations of the museum’s most prestigious works of art.
The museum does offer free entry to the permanent collection for all visitors every Monday through Saturday from 18:00 to 20:00, and Sundays and holidays from 17:00 to 19:00. These times are the museum’s busiest hours. In forewarning, if you choose to visit during these times, a line at the entrance is inevitable as well as when viewing the museum’s most popular works of art.
Museo Nacional del Prado
Paseo del Prado, s/n - Metro Atocha, Banco de España
T: +34 913 30 28 00
Hours: Monday to Saturdays 10AM to 8PM
Sundays and holidays 10AM to 7PM
Last admission 30 minutes before closing