Destination Spain's Bi-centenary of Prado Museum Tour

Bi-centenary of Prado Museum 1819-2019

The Museo del Prado opened to the public on 19 November 1819 as a Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture. In 2019, the museum celebrates its Bicentenary, a commemoration that will reveal the path covered since 1819 until today. For this special occasion, Prado Museum wishes to reflect on the future and the forthcoming challenges for this and the other great Museums of ancient painting: the need to attract social groups that traditionally are not attracted by the collections, to encourage gender and minority research studies or the challenges caused by overcrowding.

“For this commemoration, an extensive program organized by the Museum will mark the 200th anniversary of its foundation. It offers a survey of the museum’shistory that focuses on the dialogue between the Museum and society; heritagepolicies in Spain; the trends that have guided the growth of the museum’s collectionand its transformation into a place that has allowed Spanish and foreign writers,intellectuals and artists to reflect on the country’s past and its collective identity”

Curator: Javier Portús, Museo del Prado Senior Curator Spanish

The events within this program will aim to promote a reflection on the Museum’s past andpresent as well as looking ahead to its future through specific initiatives, among them the new architectural project for the Hall of Realms designed by Norman Foster, which will complete the so-called “Prado Campus”.

The permanent collection

The events scheduled for the coming months, namely the inauguration of the Ionic Gallerydisplaying classical sculpture, the new installation of the Dauphin’s Treasure in the northwing, and the opening of the new 17th-century Dutch and Flemish galleries on the second floor of the north wing, means that by the start date for the launch of the Bicentenary celebrations, 19 November 2018, the entire Villanueva building will be devoted to the display of works of art.

With regard to the permanent collection, the Bicentenary will be marked by events that focus on the changes that have taken place at the Museum over the past 200 years, as well as a special focus on works that have entered its collection since its foundation. In addition, the exhibition Prado 200 will analyze the construction and evolution of the Museum in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Temporary exhibitions

In parallel with the habitual temporary exhibition program scheduled for 2019, which includes exhibitions on artists such as Velázquez, Rembrandt, Goya, Fra Angelico, Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, and Peter Brueghel the Elder, the Museo del Prado will be presenting a special exhibition entitledCirca 1819. It will include approximately 75 paintings created in the decades immediately prior to and following the foundation of the Museum and will be displayed in Rooms A and B of the Jerónimos Building.

Ephemera is another exhibition devised to mark the Bicentenary, this time located on theMuseum’s website. It will trace the image that the Prado has aimed to project of itself overthe years through ephemeral objects produced since its creation to the present day.

The Museo del Prado in Spain

The celebration of the Bicentenary offers an exceptional opportunity to recall and emphasize the national nature of the Museo del Prado through projects such as “On Tour around Spain”, consisting of the loan of particularly important works (one per autonomousregion, including Ceuta and Melilla and with the sole exception of Madrid), which will lastfor a month; and an edition of the “Travelling Prado” exhibition program which will pay tribute to the “People’s Museum” of the Republican “Pedagogic Missions” in the form of a travellingexhibition on Las Meninas installed on a vehicle.

Publications to mark the Bicentenary

In addition to the Museum’s normal publishing activities, the Bicentenary will be marked by various initiatives: a new collection of publications with the overall title of “Bicentenary”which will focus on the history of the institution; a specially commissioned comic in whichVicent Josep Llobell Bisbal (“Sento”) recounts ten stories on the life of the Museum;and Anonymous Portraits, an anthology edited by Luis Alberto de Cuenca.

The museum world: national and international encounters During the commemoration of its Bicentenary the Museo del Prado will become a meeting point for museum world professionals, encouraging debate and exchange of experiences through conferences, international encounters and professional gatherings.

The Prado for all: the Bicentenary and society This program will aim to introduce the Prado to sectors of the public that have not generally participated in its activities, including prisoners, the visually impaired and those with mobility problems due to illness. In addition it will promote the “democratization” of the Museum byencouraging the idea of sponsorship through small contributions which, when combined together, will allow for the acquisition of works of art.

A new documentary resource for the Museum

On 19 November 2017 the Prado will become the first Spanish museum and one of the first in the world to put all its documentary holdings on its website, thus making them accessible to the academic community. There will also be an increase in the number of initiatives aimed at conserving and restoring graphic, audio, bibliographic and documentary material in orderto promote knowledge of the Prado’s history and the public will be encouraged to sharetheir experiences of the Museum.

Research and education

The Bicentenary is providing an opportunity to organize activities focused on the Museum’shistory and to publish new catalogues raisonnés: on Velázquez (by Javier Portús and Jaime García Máiquez), Luca Giordano (Andrés Úbeda), and David Teniers (Teresa Posada). In addition the Prado Chair will be directed by the writer Antonio Muñoz Molina, while acomplete educational program will focus on the Museum’s history and collections.Optimizing a visit and improving visitor services. This program will focus on the relationship between ever increasing visitor numbers to museums and the quality of the experience, offering faster and better organized entry to the Museum (both the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions) and to the Bicentenary events. Providing effective, universally accessible information, both at first hand and digitally, is part of this initiative.

Music for the Bicentenary

This program will focus on works inspired by the Museum’s collections. In addition,musicians active today will be invited to compose a work for the Museo del Prado in its Bicentenary year. There will also be a series of performances in and outside the Museum and link-ups with the major music programmers.

Make sure you ask Destination Spain to include a visit to Prado Museum in the year of its Bi-Centenary.