This year when booking your OWNERS DIRECT accommodations in the capitol city of Madrid put the Prado Museum at the top of your list of places to visit. What better recommendation could you ask for other than what Ernest Hemingway stated in his book Death in the Afternoon published in 1932? If Madrid had nothing else than the Prado it would be worth spending a month in every spring.
If you take into consideration all of the art museums not only in Europe but the world, the Prado would stand head and shoulders above all the rest. Once you visit this museum and view the art on display collected by Spanish royalty over the centuries you will begin to appreciate its importance. To give you some idea what is on display there are classical statues from Italy, Spanish and Flemish paintings, medieval religious treasures from monasteries and some Romanesque frescoes from a Madrid church. Over the past centuries some of these masterpieces were confiscated, outright taken, and some were purchased to give you some idea of how this massive collection was put together.
Originally the museum was founded by King-Mayor Carlos III in 1785 at which time he envisioned the museum to become a major force in the area of scientific enlightenment. At the time of its completion in 1819 King Ferdinand VII succeeded to the throne and the museum had a complete turnaround of its function at this time. This was done to promote Spanish art throughout the world while at the same time making it equal with all the other nations. This change was indicated by the museums new name, the Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures. This newly acquired name was to change once again in 1868 upon the deposition of Isabella II. The new name chosen came from the meadow of Prado where the museum was built hence the name Museo Nacional del Prado which also indicates the museum was nationalized.
The museum had acquired such a massive collection of art over the centuries they were unable to display even a small portion of it; as a result in 2002 the architect Rafael Moneo was given a commission to build a new one. It was decided to rebuild the cloister of the San Jeronimo el Real with the addition of a new building around it. The work was finished in 2007 which allowed the museum to double the amount of paintings on permanent display at any one time.
This collection consists of art from many different schools and countries but understandably it has a strong contention of Spanish and Flemish paintings. Not only does it have paintings but there are some sculptures and decorative art. As you stroll through the museum your emotions will run from moving to one of complete surrealism due to the religious content of some of the paintings.
Before you return to your OWNERS DIRECT accommodations make sure you visit the section containing medieval works of art. Somehow the Spanish government was able obtained some Spanish religious treasures from Castile and Catalonia making them just that much more interesting especially the ones from the 11th and 12th centuries. These came from the Church of San Baudelio de Berlanga and the Church of Santa Cruz de Maderuelo.