This list of the best works to see in the Prado Museum Madrid will help you prepare an itinerary for one of the most visited museums in the world, without missing out on any important piece.
With more than 200 years old, the Prado Museum has become a world reference thanks to its extensive collection of works by great European masters such as Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Bosco and Rubens, among others.
With more than 1,000 works exhibited from an inventory of more than 8,000, the Prado has the best collection of Spanish paintings in the world and among the most important in Italian and Flemish paintings.
Based on the two times we have visited this impressive museum, the last time we were in the capital we wrote this guide to travel to Madrid, we have made this list of the ones we believe in our opinion, the 10 essential works to see in the Prado Museum. We start!
How to visit the Prado Museum
To get to the Prado Museum, one of the most important places to visit in Madrid and one of the best museums in Madrid, the best option is metro line 2 going down at the Banco de España station or line 1 going down at the Station Of art.
Once you are in the access to the museum you have to queue at the ticket office to buy the ticket that costs 15 euros, something that sometimes will take you more than an hour in high season or if you visit the museum on the weekend. If you prefer to save time you can book here the skip-the-line ticket in advance for the same price, which will save you a lot of time.
Inside you can rent an audio guide and take a booklet with the map of the museum that will help you find the main pictures, remembering above all, that you can not take pictures. You also have a left-luggage office, cafeteria and shop.
A route through the best works to see in the Prado Museum It usually lasts about two hours, if you are not an art expert. Although to learn more about the history of the most important paintings we recommend you book this guided tour with an expert in art and history or take this offer that also includes the guided tour of the Reina Sofía Museum.
The visiting hours are from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm and on Sundays and holidays, it closes one hour before.
Can visit the Prado Museum for free Monday to Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays and holidays, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
1. Las Meninas
This oil on canvas of 1656 is considered the masterpiece of the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez and is one of the paintings to see in the most famous Prado Museum.
Located in room 12, this huge painting shows the infanta Margarita of Austria, surrounded by servants or "the meninas" and on the left side of the painting you can see Velázquez himself painting another canvas and in a mirror in the background the reflection of the images of King Philip IV and his wife Mariana of Austria.
2. The garden of delights
This oil-painted triptych around 1500 by the brilliant Dutch painter El Bosco, is one of our favorite paintings in the world.
The painting, located in room 56A, is made on a central and two lateral panels forming one of the most fascinating works in the history of art.
To understand the painting, start by placing yourself at the back to see an image of the globe representing the third day of the creation of the world. If you continue on the left panel you will see the Garden of Eden with Eve and Adam on the last day of creation, then the center where lust and sins begin, and to end the one on the right with the condemnation represented by hell.
3. The Naked Pestle
The nude pestle painted before 1800, is one of the most emblematic works of Francisco de Goya.
This full-length portrait of a naked woman complements the painting of The dressed maja, painted between 1800 and 1808.
These two works, located in room 36, were owned by the nobleman Manuel Godoy, favorite of King Carlos IV and had them exposed with a mechanism that first showed the pestle dressed and then naked.
It is said that the woman portrayed was the Duchess of Alba or Pepita Tudó, Godoy's lover and wife.
4. The knight's hand on his chest
This oil painting from around 1580 is one of El Greco's great masterpieces and another A must see in the Prado Museum.
In this portrait, located in room 8B, you can see a gentleman, Marquis Juan de Silva y Ribera, with his hand on his chest making a kind of oath.
5. On May 3 in Madrid, one of the works to see in the Prado Museum
In room 64 is another of Goya's great paintings, on May 3 in Madrid or The shootings on the mountain of Prince Pius.
This work of 1814 represents the shooting of the Madrid rebels who rose on May 2 to face the French occupation of Spain by Napoleon.
When visiting the Prado Museum you can also see the painting «On May 2, 1808 in Madrid», which Goya painted in homage to the uprising that began the Spanish independence war.
6. The three thanks
The three Graces painted in oil by the Baroque master Rubens, is another of the great paintings to see in the Prado Museum in Madrid.
This painting, located in room 29, shows Jupiter's daughters: Aglae, Eufrosina and Talía, converted into symbols of beauty and fertility.
7. The surrender of Breda
This oil on canvas, painted by Velázquez between 1634 and 1635, is another of the great reasons why visit the Prado Museum.
The surrender of Breda is in room 9A and shows the historical scene of the surrender of this strategic city by the Netherlands to the Spaniards.
8. Jacob's dream
This oil on canvas of the year 1639 was made by the baroque style painter José de Ribera and is another of the must see in the Prado Museum.
This painting found in room 9 shows an Old Testament scene in which a pastor lies down to rest while the angels go down and up a light bulb.
9. The Crucifixion
This oil on panel, located in room 57 and made between 1509 and 1518, was commissioned to the Flemish painter Juan de Flandes to decorate the main altarpiece of the cathedral of Palencia. Around the crucifixion you can see the Virgin, the apostle Juan, María Magdalena, María Cleofás and María Salomé.
10. David winner of Goliath
In room 6 is this stunning oil on canvas from around 1600 made by the great Italian painter Caravaggio. The characteristic dark touches of this painter highlight the scene of the painting in which young David is seen holding the head of Goliath.
If you feel like helping us complete the list of the 10 works to see in the Prado Museum in Madrid, add your favorite in the comments.