The Prado Museum celebrates its 195th anniversary today, on November 19th. From our hotel, we wanted to pay a small tribute to it by telling some curiosities and lesser-known facts about this cultural institution that constitutes one of the main tourist attractions in Madrid.
1) On November 19th, entrance is free
That is how the museum has been celebrating this major day for years, because the original Prado Museum, called the Real Museo de Pinturas, was inaugurated on November 19th 1819. Entrance is also free on International Museum Day, which is on May 18th.
2) It has works from disappeared museums
Even though the royal collection constitutes the main nucleus of the museum, throughout the years the Prado has incorporated works from other museums from around the world that have disappeared: in 1872, Museum of La Trinidad and in 1871 the Modern Art Museum.
Other works come from donations and legacies of private collections, such as those from the Bosch, Durà and Errazu families, and more recently the Várez Fisa family. Lastly, they have also made purchases, such as “The Countess of Chinchón” by Goya.
3) Picasso was the director of the Prado
In September 1936, the Republican government named Pablo Picasso director of the Prado. The museum still preserves a document signed by Manuel Azaña, the President of the Spanish Republican back then, in which it acknowledges this title to Picasso and a yearly salary of 15.000 pesetas.
4) The first catalogue was made by a concierge
Not by a painter, not by a historian and not by a restorer. The first catalogue of the Prado Museum, which included 311 works of Spanish art, was made by the museum concierge Luis Eusebi in 1819. In fact, Eusebi did a great job of preserving the museum, even having responsibilities and power that were in some cases almost those of a deputy director.
5) The “naked room”
It was in fact Luis Eusebi who, in 1827, reminded the museum directors that the museum had loaned a series of naked portraits to the San Fernando Academy in Madrid 30 years before. It was 37 works in total, mainly by Rubens and Titian, and thanks to Eusebi’s intervention they were returned to the museum.
However, when King Fernando VII heard that these kinds of works were going to be exhibited to the public, he stated that “it is His Majesty’s will that under no circumstances will they be exhibited to the public those that due to the lack of decency of its items and other circumstances that they have deserve to be placed in a reserved location”.
Therefore, all the naked portraits were gathered in the so-called Reserved Room, which was set up in the southeastern gallery on the lower floor of the Villanueva building, what are currently rooms 64-67. They stayed there until 1838, when José de Madrazo dismantled it and relocated the works in the themed rooms that they belonged in.
What better opportunity to celebrate the Prado Museum anniversary than coming to Madrid to celebrate it? At Hotel Liabeny we offer fantastic accommodation at a good price and a stone’s throw from the Puerta del Sol. Stay with us by booking on the official website and enjoy our comfortable rooms filled with details at prices that you will not be able to find on any other website.