Let’s be honest… who would actually go to an art museum and not look at art?

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Copyright ©Museo Nacional del Prado

So museums are great and all, but sometimes you have to get a little bit creative with how you approach your museum visit. I’ll be completely honest, one day I tried to spend an entire hour in the Prado without looking at a piece of art. . . And I failed. I guess that shouldn’t really be too shocking; they’ve just got too much good stuff in there! Plus, there’s art everywhere! Does it count if it was printed on something in the gift shop?

All that aside, I thought it would be fun to write something a little different from what I normally post. This also pushed me to think a little bit differently about the museum experience and discover more of what the Prado has to offer. Now, I’m not necessarily encouraging you to spend your time in the Prado without looking at any art (That would be absurd!), but if you’re wondering what else there is to do in a museum like the Prado besides look at art. . . …


What is the role of education in the museum?

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Art can be such a valuable tool to forge connections. It can create a bridge of understanding — between two people, two cultures, or even two nations. One of the reasons why art is profoundly important to me is because of its ability to aid me in understanding and connecting with something beyond myself, at times things very much foreign to me.

When I learn about art, I learn about people. I learn about cultures, history, philosophy, psychology, even math and science. In this world so full of conflict and misunderstanding, I think these qualities make art an indispensable resource. …


AKA that one time I accidentally left my phone at my desk when I went to the museum…

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Copyright ©Museo Nacional del Prado

So I kinda discovered a fun game… Well, it was fun for me. I went down to the museum one day to continue with one of the Prado’s recommended tours, and I accidentally left my phone at my desk. Of course, once I realized, I was too lazy to go all the way back up to the office to get it. And in my head, I was thinking, “It’s not like I can take pictures, so what do I need it for anyway?”

Well… for two things… One, to keep up with the time. (And I quickly realized there is not a single clock visible anywhere in the museum.) And two, I also needed it so I could access the list of works that I was looking for online. I had them all marked out on my map, but I had only identified the rooms they were in and their number on the list because there wasn’t enough room to write out every single name. …


Come along with me on a tiny journey of discovery.

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Boys on the Beach, Joaquín Sorolla, Copyright ©Museo Nacional del Prado

Since there’s so much ground to cover, this post also focuses on one aspect of the Prado’s collection. I wasn’t originally planning to spend so much time talking about the museum’s collection, but it also makes sense because its collection is what makes the Prado… well, the Prado. This time, however, I’ll be focusing mainly on Spanish painters.

When it comes to Spanish artists, much of the focus of the Prado’s collection is on artists from the Golden Age of Spanish painting — think Velázques, El Greco, Murillo, Ribera, etc.

While I absolutely adore many of the works by those artists and the museum has an amazing assortment of them as well, some of my favorite paintings that I have seen during my explorations of the halls of the Prado are from Spanish artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. …


… and some medieval stuff too.

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The Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych, Copyright ©Museo Nacional del Prado

As an extension of my previous post, I’ll be continuing to discuss the collection of the Prado. Just as a disclaimer, neither this post nor the last one is meant to be authoritative on what is important in the collection or how you should approach it individually.

These are merely suggestions to help the aimless visitor find a bit of direction. So — with that out of the way — this time I would like to talk about some of my favorite pieces that I’ve stumbled upon in the museum while following their recommended tours.

I typically start the tour in the Flemish wing on the main floor, which is one of my favorite areas of the museum. There are several remarkable works in this area, including Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych and Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross. …


Where do I even start?

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There is a reason that the Museo Nacional del Prado is considered “one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world.” It houses an extensive body of over 10,000 artworks, with only around 2,000 on display in the museum itself. The collection features a variety of paintings by old masters, like Hieronymus Bosch, Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco de Goya. The sheer quantity of works alone can seem daunting if you have very little time in the Prado, but it is even more so if you’re not quite sure where to start. There are many recommended tours and lists on the internet that claim to outline the must-see works that reside within the walls of the museum. However, there is much more to the Prado’s collection than just its most well-known works of art. …


When your expectations don’t quite meet up with reality.

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Before I came to the Prado this summer, I had been extremely nervous about my internship. That was for a variety of reasons. At first, when I found out that I would be coming here, I was utterly astounded that I had been accepted. Then, I was ecstatic about the opportunity to work at a museum and live in Spain for three months. It seemed almost too good to be true. …


Let’s get acquainted.

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Okay, I’ll admit it. . . I’m an art history major. Contrary to popular belief (at least in my experience), that does not mean I’m studying to become an artist. Countless have been the times that I’ve anticipated the confused reaction to that declaration, and my favorite response is the classic, “Well what are you going to do with that?” Truth be told, I just don’t know yet. I hope to work in museums or in some other capacity that allows me to use art to enrich the community. However, I didn’t choose art history because I thought it would guarantee me a job. (And does any major really guarantee you a job these days?) I study art history because I love it. But more than that, I study it because I love the way that it teaches me to think, to analyze, to understand and even to empathize. In studying it, I gain more than simply a general understanding of the history of art. …

Arnesia Young

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