The Prado Museum (el Museo del Prado) is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture, it also contains important collections of other types of works.
A new, recently opened wing enlarged the display area by about 400 paintings, and it is currently used mainly for temporary expositions. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world, and it is considered to be among the greatest museums of art. The large numbers of works by Velázquez and Francisco de Goya (the artist more extensively represented in the collection), Titian, Rubens and Bosch are among the highlights of the collection. The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, in addition to a large number of works of art and historic documents. By 2012 the Museum will be displaying about 1300 works in the main buildings, while around 3,100 works are on temporary loan to various museums and official institutions. The remainder are in storage. The best-known work on display at the museum is Las Meninas by Velázquez. Velázquez not only provided the Prado with his own works, but his keen eye and sensibility was also responsible for bringing much of the museum's fine collection of Italian masters to Spain.
The Museo del Prado has the largest collection of Spanish painting in the world, numbering more than 4,800 paintings and dating from the Romanesque period to the 19th century. This internationally-renowned collection includes masterpieces by artists such as Bartolomé Bermejo, Pedro Berruguete, Sánchez Coello, El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Murillo, Alonzo Cano, Velázquez, Goya, Vicente López, Fortuny, Carlos de Haes, Federico de Madrazo. The two artists who are best represented in the Prado are Velázquez and Goya. The Museum has almost 50 paintings by the former, mostly from the Spanish Royal Collection. They include almost all the artist's major compositions. The Goya collection is also rich, comprising more than 140 paintings.
In 2009, the Prado Museum selected 14 of its most important paintings to be displayed in Google Earth and Google Maps at extremely high resolution, with the largest displayed at 14,000 megapixels. The images' zoom capability allows for close-up views of paint texture and fine detail. The displayed paintings are shown below (all images are the same images shown at Prado in Google Earth).
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|Madrid, Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23