The Prado Museum stands as one of the world's greatest art museums, famous not only for works by such major Spanish artists as Velasquez and Goya, but also for a wide range of Flemish, Italian, and French art - representative of the far reach and influence of the Spanish Empire.
During this three-hour overview, we will attempt to give a broad, contextual frame to this exciting collection, arming you with the tools for a more in-depth study at a later date.
We begin by looking at the heterogeneous gathering of paintings that once formed part of the private collections of Spanish monarchs. Starting with Isabel la Católica and her love of Flemish art, we'll look at the vast assemblage of works by Northern European artists that she and her descendants acquired.
These works form the initial core of the Prado Museum, and account for the presence of such masterpieces as The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hyeronimus Bosch and The Descent from the Cross by Roger van der Weyden.
Tracing Spanish history through the art of the Prado, we'll also turn our attention to the advent of the Habsburg dynasty in Spain brought upon by Charles V, who, along with his son Philip II, became prominent patrons of Venetian artists, chiefly Titian. We may dwell for a while with this artist's powerful portraits of both regents and compare and contrast the way in which he depicted father and son as we also take into account the political and religious components of each painting.
An obsession with Venice, and Italy in general, may be a theme we'll pursue as we look at the work of Velazquez, whom King Philip IV (grandson of Philip II) sent to Italy in order to acquire paintings. We'll also look at Rubens who sojourned at the court in Madrid and provides a unique contrast to Velzquez, in particular his famous Las Meninas.
We'll finish in the Goya rooms, where we can review the relationships between artists and their royal patrons as we study such works as The Family of Charles IV, a family portrait dated c. 1800 with interesting political connotations.
We'll conclude with a deep appreciation for the variety of masterpieces contained within the Prado, and how this museum serves as a diorama of European history from the Renaissance to modernity.
- Services of a docent
- Meals and drinks
- Personal expenses
- Tips and gratuities
- Optional activity costs
- Hotel pick-up can be arranged with an additional fee. Please inquire.
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