With over 20,000 works of art, sculptures and other historic documents, El Museo Nacional del Prado can be overwhelming for a first-timer. Considered to have one of the world’s finest collections of European art, El Prado is a must see when in Madrid.
With such an extensive collection, one can spend hours, even days, to look at every work. For those who don’t want to spend their day in a museum, here are my favorites at El Prado.
Skip right to the Renaissance and be sure to check out Andrea Mantegna’s “Death of the Virgin”.
The unfinished appearance of the columns in the background suggest the piece was larger than it is today.
It hangs in gallery 56B on the ground floor, surrounded by other works by Italian masters like Botticelli, Fra Angelico and Raphael.
It provides the perfect intro to El Prado’s collection of Italian Renaissance paintings.
Define Your Morality
Gallery 56A holds one of my personal favorites of El Prado, Hieronymous Bosch’s three panel painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights”.
The piece is extremely detailed with highly imaginative depictions of the path from the Garden of Eden to Hell.
Whether you interpret it as a warning of the evil temptations of life or as an evocation of ultimate sexual exploration, everyone can find themselves in the garden.
Gifts From the Dutch
The Spanish kings absolutely love Flemish paintings.
Gallery 58, the gallery of Flemish paintings, is home to Rogier van der Weyden’s painfully beautiful “Descent From the Cross”
It is arguably the most influential Netherlandish painting of Christ’s crucifixion.
The Spanish Legend
The Spanish master Velázquez, notably the undisputed headliner of the museum’s collection, is an essential visit when in El Prado.
As court painter to Rey Felipe IV, he painted portraits of the royal family and important scenes of military victories that proudly displayed the majesty.
However, the subject of his most famous piece, “Las Meninas”, remains unknown.
Hanging in Gallery 12, “Las Meninas” is to El Prado what the “Mona Lisa” is to the Louvre.
For more information on El Museo del Prado, please visit www.museodelprado.es