The National Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, is one of the most important in the world, as well as one of the most visited. Singularly rich in paintings of European masters from the 16th to the 19th centuries, according to the historian of art and Hispanist Jonathan Brown, “few would dare to doubt that it is the most important museum in the world in European painting”.
Its main attraction is the wide presence of Velázquez, El Greco, Goya (the most widely represented artist in the museum), Tiziano, Rubens and Bosco, of which he has the best and most extensive collections worldwide, we must add such important authors as Murillo, Ribera, Zurbarán, Rafael, Veronese, Tintoretto, Van Dyck or Poussin.
The Prado owes its origin to the hobby collector of the ruling dynasties over several centuries. It reflects the personal tastes of Spanish kings and their network of alliances and political enmities, making it an asymmetric collection, unsurpassed in certain artists and styles, and limited in others.
The construction works were developed during the kingdom of Carlos III and Carlos IV, leaving the building practically finalized at the beginning of the 19th century. But the arrival of the French troops to Spain and the Independence War left its mark on and fell practically in ruins.
Thanks only to the interest manifested by Fernando VII and, above all, by his second wife, Isabel de Braganza, from 1818 began, the recovery of the building, based on the contemporary designs of Villanueva.