Madrid Attractions and Museums: the top Spanish paintings of the Prado

Prado Goya La Maja Vestida

Making a list about Madrid attractions and museums is hard work because this city gathers many masterpieces in the History of Art. The Prado Museum is probably the biggest and richest in this matter, and What to do in Madrid has compiled a short selection of Spanish paintings that you shouldn’t miss on your tour.

                           Las Meninas, by Diego de Velázquez

las meninas by diego de velazques

This piece is probably the most famous painting of the museum,as well as one of the most amazing in History. The symbol of the Spanish Golden Age, its author is Diego de Velázquez. The painting shows the royal family of Philip IV and gives a unique perspective at the points of viewing. The Kings are seen in a mirror, while their daughters watch someone who is being portrayed, right where the viewer stands. The painter also set  a wonderful self-portrait to the left side.

          The Surrender of Breda, by Diego de Velázquez

the-surrender-of-breda-by diego de velazques

The surrender of Breda, also called Las lanzas, is a painting that tells about history. It depicts the moment in whichBreda delivers the key of the city to General Spinola, symbolizing the power of the Spanish Empire, even if their troops would later lose the war. The painting stands out because of the realism in the arms, the sky and the people.

                      Las majas, by Francisco de Goya

Las_majasThe Spanish School is well represented in the Prado. Another great painter that belongs to it is Francisco de Goya. The portraits he painted were inspired by those of  Velázquez.  Las Majas, one clothed and another naked, are the best examples of his inspired work, being full of sensuality.

                The Third of May 1808, by Francisco de Goya

the third of may 1808

This painting shows the passion Goya put in his works during his This piece depicts a scene that has become a symbol of horror and resistance  in the shooting of the Spanish people by the French Napoleon troops. Even Picasso was inspired by this painting for his piece, Guernica, which is a  masterpiece that also takes its place on the huge list of Madrid attractions, in the Reina Sofía in this case.

                                                                                                                                                           Black Paintings, by Francisco de Goya

the black painting

This is a group of paintings that belong to his latest period, when Goya was suffering an illness that deafened him. Having been located on the  walls of his home in Madrid, they are considered the precursors of the Expressionism. Because of their dark undertones, it set the tone for this period that developed in Europe during the following decades.

                                  The Crucifixion, by El Greco

the crucifixion

Velázquez and Goya are not the only the representatives of Spanish School in The Prado Museum. There are also others, like Murillo, Sorolla and, of course, El Greco. with Greek origins, was too modern for his period and wasn’t well seen in his life ( the late 16th and early 17th centuries). The innovative features of his style can be appreciated in The Crucifixion. It includes stretched extremities, strong contrast of colors, vaporous atmosphere and very vertical composition.

El Caballero con la mano en el pecho, by El Greco

El Caballero con la mano en el pecho, by El Greco

El Greco also knew how to hide his real style, especially in portraits. When he did custom work, he was mucht more quiet and discreet, as demonstrated in his painting, El Caballero con la mano en el pecho.This is a small portrait depicting what is likely a gentleman of Toledo, the city where he lived.
This is only a very short selection of the masterpieces you can find in the Prado. We will share more Madrid attractions and museums in successive articles, which will include Italian and Flemish painters.

ake photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/baltamourcarla/3369973178/
photo credit: baltamour carla via photopin cc

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