Tag Archives: Palacio

The Prado Museum Madrid [Museo National del Prado]: Major Madrid Attraction

imageIf you are an art connoisseur or an avid museum goer and want nothing but the best Spanish and European art pieces in Madrid, there are actually a number of good options in the city. But everyone will agree that the best choice is the Prado Museum.

Located along Paseo del Prado, it houses the biggest and most comprehensive collection of paintings and artworks by artists from Spain and all over the world. Included in the collection are the prized creations by three of the most revered Spanish artists – Francisco Goya, El Greco and Diego Velazquez.

Prado Madrid – Birth of a National Museum

imageConstruction of the Museo del Prado begun in 1785, when the design work of the edifice was assigned by Charles II to prolific architect Villanueva. It was finally completed in 1819 under the reign of Ferdinand VII, despite the halting of construction work brought about by the Napoleonic Wars. Initially called the Royal Museum of Painting, it was renamed the National Museum of the Prado in 1868.

Facts about the Prado Spain Museum

1. In the 10 best museums in the world list for 2015, the thelocal.es website ranks Prado as number four overall, beating Louvre of France, which is number 5. First in the list is the Metropolitan museum of New York.

2. If there is one distinct difference between Prado Museum and Louvre museum – you can take photographs inside the Louvre, while Prado prohibits visitors from doing so within its premises. I had been to both, and while I was reprimanded by a Prado curator for having taken a stolen shot, I had tons of Louvre photos as souvenirs, even a selfie that shows the Mona Lisa (although I believe the Mona Lisa was on display then was not the original).

3. The Las Meninas by Velazquez is the most important painting in the Museum’s collection. The art piece is unique in that one figure seen in the painting is Velazquez himself.

1024px-Las_Meninas,_by_Diego_Velázquez,_from_Prado_in_Google_EarthDiego Velázquez [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Franciaso Goya’s art work constitutes a good portion of the museum’s entire collection that his sculpture is displayed outside the museum in his honor. One of Goya’s work that’s worth seeing is the naked Maja, or the La Maja desnuda. This particular painting caused people to accuse him of obscenity.

image5. Museo del Prado belongs to the so-called The Golden Triad or Triangle of Art of Madrid, the top three art museums close to each other within the Prado vicinity. The other two are the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, a private museum of contemporary art, and Reina Sofia Museum, also national museo that features the finest in contemporary artwork.

6. Another painting that’s a must-see by Prado visitors is the Descent of the Cross by Rogier van der Weyden, a renowned painter from Belgium. This particular painting is filled with remarkable details, with the artist succeeding in making the work so life-like. Anyone would notice how the body of Jesus as it is being lowered down and the fallen Mary, His Mother, had been similarly positioned by the artist.

7. The museum houses more or less 7,600 paintings and 1000 sculptures, all of which are high in value, both historical and monetary. As many as 3 million visitors are welcomed by the museum every year.

Nearby Madrid attractions

imageOne of the more popular churches in the area, San Jeronimo el Real has been serving the vicinity since the 10th century
imageMuseo Naval is a popular museum near the area. Also known as the Naval Museum of Madrid, it is highly visited because of its rich display of ancient and valuable historical items from the Spanish Navy
imageThe Royal Botanical Garden is in front of the Murillo Gate of the museo
imageStatue of Neptune (Neptuno) along the Paseo del Prado
imagePalacio de Cibeles is just a block away from the museum, and holds its own cultural and arts expositions at the Centro Centro. Also called the Palacio de Communicaciones, it dwarfs everything else within the Plaza Cibeles

How to go:

Direccion – Paseo del Prado 28014 Madrid

Prado Museum tickets:

Price of Admission is 14 euros

Take advantage of the free admission

Monday to Saturday: 6 to 8 PM

Sunday and holidays: 5 to 7 PM

Prado Museum hours:

The museum is open everyday of the year, except December 25, January 1, May 1

Regular opening hours

Monday to Saturday: 10AM to 8PM

Sunday and Holiday: 10AM to 7PM

Mapa

That One Afternoon when Streets were Carless in Madrid

That Sunday afternoon of May 15 was a peculiar one. Scattered were throngs of people on certain areas in Madrid, specifically around the Palacio de Cibeles, Banco de Espana, Sevilla, and Puerta del Sol. It was just for a few hours, but was an event quite unusual, nonetheless. “Humans triumphed over vehicles,” I should say; it was a rare time when pedestrians enjoyed street domination. Cars were hardly in sight that it afforded people to be able to walk in the middle of the streets, not one hurrying, but instead walked at a leisurely pace. While many headed straight towards Sol, others sauntered off a bit presumably to better check the surroundings.

Roads literally had everything in them except auto buses plying the affected route. A municipal car was parked in the middle of the Plaza, beside the Fuente de la Cibeles (Cybele fountain). Policemen stood in the middle of the plaza to direct traffic. I noticed one of them approached an autobus coming from Paseo del Prado and seemed to have instructed the driver to reroute to the opposite direction.

Everyone at my bus (Line 5) got off as told by the driver. All went down the parada across the Casa de America building, along Paseo de Recoletos. Seeing throngs already milling around the fountain, many of my co-passengers followed suit and rushed to the middle of the plaza.

My immediate thoughts were to take some photos of the Cibeles, both the fuente and the edifice. I’ve always wanted to have really clear pictures of the fountain but since I can only take it from the sidewalk or even through the window of the bus, I couldn’t produce clear photos. I avoid using the zoom-in feature since it doesn’t do the pictures any good. Zooming in the view on your phone camera only creates unsightly pixels, which renders the photos as inferior.

That afternoon afforded me the chance to stand a mere few feet from the fountain, gazing unflinchingly at it,  and happy that all the shots I took gave me crispy, vivid results.

Afterwards, I walked at Gran Via, in the middle of road,  moving at a crawling pace to better examine and takes shots of the buildings that lined its sides. However, as I viewed the photos that I took, the results were less than desirable. It might be because of the lighting at the time, and the fact that the buildings at Gran Via were too tall that I had to assume awkward positions and take shots from poor angles. Pictures came out with the edifices partially captured, or with unwanted shadows on their facade. Eventually, I decided to tuck away my mobile phone onto my pocket and just enjoyed the rest of my walk to Sol.

Overall, it was great timing indeed. I was glad I made the decision to attend the Sunday mass at the Iglesia de San Gines de Arles at Calle del Arenal. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have experienced it – that fine afternoon when streets were car-less in Madrid.

imageThe Palacio de Cibeles y Fuerte de Cybele. I was right in front of the fountain when I took this shot

image I’m within the vicinity of the Plaza de la Independencia, a major square in Madrid. Here is where  important vias intersect, like Calle de Alcala, Serrano, and Calle de Alfonso XII.  In the background is the Puerta de Alcala, a landmark near the entrance to the Retiro Park

imageTurning into a long pedestrian walkway for a few hours that Sunday, May 15 was Gran Via, where mothers and dads push the strollers carrying their babies and couples holding hands while enjoying some leisure walk. Many others take advantage of the chance to have unique shots of themselves doing crazy poses while in the middle of the street

imageThis is such an opportune time when everyone enjoys walking the roads of Madrid (at least, in this corner of the city) freely – without the traffic lights impeding the flow of pedestrians, or without worrying about passing vehicles

image As I near Puerta del Sol, the movement of people in the streets turned slower. Crowds were all around and became thicker. Upon arriving at the plaza (Sol) I saw a rally was being held. While first, I thought the streets were closed because of the Fiesta de San Isidro, I could only surmise later on that the rally created a mayhem that it caused the nearby streets to be unavailable to car traffic