What to see at the Prado Museum in Madrid: timetables, prices and tips

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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If you are on holiday in Madrid, Spain, you should definitely visit the Prado Museum, one of the most important art galleries in the world. Opened in 1819 at the time the palace it contains more than 300 works by major Spanish, Italian and Flemish artists. Here's what you really shouldn't miss.


  1. What to see and how to visit the Prado Museum
  2. The 3 May 1808
  3. David and Goliath
  4. Las Meninas
  5. Saturn devouring his children
  6. Danae
  7. Trinity
  8. Birth of St. John the Baptist
  9. Garden of Earthly Delights
  10. Bacchanal of the Andrii
  11. El Coloso
  12. Hours and prices
  13. Online tickets and guided tours
  14. User questions and comments

What to see and how to visit the Prado Museum

The picture gallery is made up of several buildings located in the heart of Madrid: the Villanueva building, the Cloister de los Jeronimos, the Cason del Buen Retiro, the administrative building of the Ruiz de Alarcon street and the Hall of the Kingdoms of the Buen Retiro Palace, quest latest addition recently.

There are three entrances to access the museum: Puerta de Velasquez (the main one) Puerta de los Jeronimos and Puerta de Murillo, located in the square of the same name, and from which it is convenient to enter as the lines are generally shorter. The rooms are numbered from 1 to 102, so we recommend visiting them in order, perhaps with a map (you can find it for free, also in Italian, at each entrance) and possibly an audio guide (costs € 4,00 for the general collection, € 6,00 also including temporary exhibitions.)

Let's find out together the 10 works not to be missed:

1 - May 3, 1808

Painted in 1814, oil on canvas, the very famous work of the visionary Spanish artist reproduces a tragic moment in the history of Spain, or rather the invasion of the country by Napoleon, in particular the bloody executions carried out on civilians.

  • creation date: 1814
  • Author: Francisco Goya
  • Dimensions: 268 × 347 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil painting on canvas

2 - David and Goliath

One of the Italian artist's first works, made in oil on canvas between 1597 and 1598, revisits the famous biblical myth in an abstract light, playing with shadows and portraying himself under the guise of Goliath.

  • creation date1597-1598
  • Author: Caravaggio
  • Dimensions: 116x91 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil painting on canvas

3 - Las Meninas

One of the artist's most successful works is an oil painting on canvas, made in 1656; the work portrays the infanta Margarita, eldest daughter of the queen, surrounded by her bridesmaids. The work is known in particular for its enigmatic and "dynamic" nature, which seems to include the viewer within the scene.

  • creation date: 1656
  • Author: Diego Velazquez
  • Dimensions: 318 × 276 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil painting on canvas

4 - Saturn devouring his children

Another Goya work not to be missed: made with the oil on plaster technique between 1821 and 1823, it is one of the works that best expresses the dark period of Goya's painting, characterized by crude, dark and macabre representations.

  • creation date1821-1823
  • Author: Francisco Goya
  • Dimensions: 143x81 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil on plaster

5 - Danae

Inspired by the works of Michelangelo and his Venus of Urbino, this beautiful work by Titian portrays a female nude, in a dark atmosphere rendered magnificently thanks to the use of oil on canvas.

  • creation date: 1553
  • Author: Tiziano Vecellio
  • Dimensions: 129 × 180 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil painting on canvas

6 - Trinity

Original composition by the famous Greek Mannerist painter, represents God with the lifeless body of his son in my arms. The work has been in the museum since 1832, and is made in oil on canvas.

  • creation date1577-1579
  • Author: El Greco
  • Dimensions: 300x179 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil painting on canvas

7 - Birth of St. John the Baptist

Inspired by Caravaggio, the work of the famous Italian artist portrays the birth of John the Baptist, in an atmosphere characterized by extreme realism and a skilful play of chiaroscuro.

  • creation date: 1635
  • Author: Artemisia Gentileschi
  • Dimensions: 164 × 258 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil painting on canvas

8 - Garden of Earthly Delights

The Garden of Delights is a triptych made in oil on wood, consisting of two side panels that can be closed on the central one. When open,the triptych shows scenes from the earthly Paradise and Hell; once closed, a representation of the Earth can be observed during creation.

  • creation date: C. 1480-1490
  • Author: Hieronymus Bosch
  • Dimensions: 220x389 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil on the table

9 - Bacchanal of the Andrii

Splendid work with a mythological theme and slightly erotic tones, made in oil on canvas, represents a bacchanal populated by nymphs, satyrs and girls in celebration.

  • creation date1523-1526
  • Author: Tiziano Vecellio
  • Dimensions: 175 × 193 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil painting on canvas

10 - El Coloso

One of Goya's most enigmatic works, El coloso (or Il Colosso) seems to represent, through the allegory of an approaching apocalypse, the threat of the Spanish War of Independence.

  • creation date: About 1808
  • Author: Francisco Goya
  • Dimensions: 116x105 cm
  • Technique of the work: oil painting on canvas

Hours and prices

  • Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 20:00, Sunday and holidays from 10:00 to 20:00. Closed January 1st, May 1st and December 25th
  • Best time to avoid queues: usually in the afternoon, from around 15pm
  • € 15,00 - Buy online with the option to skip the line
  • Reductions: € 7,50 for over 65s; temporary exhibitions are half price during the free museum visit hours.
  • Free: Free admission for minors, students up to 25 years and visitors with disabilities. Some times of the day are free admission (from 18:00 to 20:00 from Monday to Saturday, from 17:00 to 19.00 on Sunday)

Online tickets and guided tours

Useful tips for visiting the attraction

  1. Midweek day: the ideal would be to visit the museum on a midweek day and not at the weekend, to avoid endless queues.
  2. Buy the Paseo del Arte card: costs € 28,80 and is equal to a 20% discount on the ticket of two other important museums: the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum.
  3. For people with disabilities: pay attention to some areas of the Villanueva building, they have characteristics that can make it difficult for people with disabilities to pass
  4. Prohibitions: it is forbidden to take photographs or record videos; for bags larger than 40x40 cm, use the special lockers; no food, drinks or sharp objects are allowed (which can be stored in the cloakroom).

Where is it and how to get there

  • On foot: starting from Plaza Mayor and continuing north through Calle des Cervantes, you will arrive at the museum in about 20 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • By bus: reachable via lines 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37 and 45
  • By metro: accessible via the Banco de España and Atocha stops, just 10 minutes away.

Historical notes and curiosities: what to know in brief

The building that houses the Museum was commissioned and approved in 1786 by Charles III of Spain, but was almost completely destroyed in the early 1819th century, having been used as a military building during the French occupation and the subsequent Spanish War of Independence. Subsequently, the structure was recovered and obtained the name of Museo Real de Pinturas in . The Velazquez room it will be named in honor of the great painter.

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