Look out for Titian's 1548 'Charles V at the Battle of Mühlberg' - the king is wearing the same armour you can see in person at the Armoury of the Royal Palace on the other side of the city.
The Museo del Prado is at the centre of Madrid, and features one of the world's finest collections of European art. Expanded from the former Spanish Royal collection, it now comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, as well as many other works of art and historic documents. Around 1,300 artworks are on display in the main buildings: the crowning glory of the collection is Las Meninas by Velázquez, one of the most acclaimed masterpieces in all art history.
'Prado' comes from the meadow which gave its name to the area, and later to the museum after nationalisation: the grand main building opened in 1819 as the Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures. Today, other parts of the collection are also held in the Casón del Buen Retiro and the church of San Jerónimo el Real.
The artistic heritage of Spain is best represented, but there's no shortage of brilliant stuff by Italian and Dutch artists either: highlights include some of the greatest works by Fra Angelico, Goya, Rubens, Titian, Dürer, Raphael, Hieronymus Bosch and Tintoretto.
There's so much to see here that it can feel overwhelming. Luckily, the museum has devised three suggested routes - covering 15, 30 and 50 works in one hour, two hours, or three hours respectively - which cover the key works, and are a great option if you're short of time. Otherwise, take a whole day to drink in the delights.
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