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Prado, Museo Nacional del

(prä`dō, Span. prä`thō), Spanish national museum of painting and sculpture, in Madrid, one of the finest in Europe. Situated on the Paseo del Prado, it was begun by the architect Juan de Villanueva in 1785 for Charles III, as a museum of natural history, and finished under his grandson, Ferdinand VII; the inaugural ceremony took place and the museum was opened to the public in 1819, when the collection consisted entirely of just over 1,500 Spanish paintings. The collection was expanded significantly in the 16th cent. under Charles V and was enlarged under the succeeding Hapsburg and Bourbon kings. It continued to be maintained by the royal family and was called the Royal Museum until 1868, when it became national property. The Prado's collection includes more than 17,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints. The Spanish, Flemish, and Venetian schools are particularly well represented. The collection includes masterpieces by Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Durer, Mantegna, van der Weyden, Rubens, Van Dyck, Dürer, Brueghel, Bosch, and many others. In addition, the works of Velázquez, El Greco, Ribera, and Goya can be seen nowhere else to such advantage. A large new extension to the museum, designed by Rafael MoneoMoneo, Rafael
(José Rafael Moneo), 1937–, Spanish architect, b. Tudela, Navarre. He received undergraduate (1961) and doctoral (1965) degrees from the Madrid School of Architecture, worked (1960–61) with Danish architect Jørn Utzon, and studied (1963–65)
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, opened in 2007.


See H. B. Wehle, Great Paintings from the Prado Museum (1963); F. V. Garin Llombart, Treasures of the Prado (1998); S Alcolea, ed., The Prado Museum (2002); A. E. Sanchez, The Prado (2d ed., 2006).



(National Museum of Paintings and Sculpture), an art museum in Madrid.

The Prado, which was built specifically to house a museum, is an outstanding example of late Spanish classicism (1785–1830). Designed by J. de Villanueva, the Prado opened in 1819. It initially housed the Spanish royal collections. The museum has an exceptional collection of Spanish painting from the 15th through the 19th centuries (El Greco, J. Ribera, F. Zurbarán, D. Velásquez, B. E. Murillo, F. Goya). There is also a rich collection of works by such important 16th century Italian masters as Raphael, A. del Sarto, and Titian. Also well represented are masterpieces of the Dutch school of the 15th and 16th centuries (Rogier van der Weyden, H. Bosch, A. Mor), the Flemish school (P. P. Rubens), and the French school (N. Poussin).


[Malitskaia, K.] Muzei Prado: Madrid (album). Moscow, 1971.
Sánchez, A. P. El museo del Prado. Barcelona, 1971.


an art gallery in Madrid housing an important collection of Spanish paintings
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