The Prado is temporarily exhibiting a new selection of its 19th-century paintings in the Museum’s “collections presentation gallery”. This space has been designed to show rotating displays of works from that century not normally on display and selected from among its extensive holdings in virtue of their interest and quality. Thanks to the decision to create this temporary exhibition space, the Museum has now been able to display an outstanding group of religious compositions by Spanish artists working in Rome in the mid-19th century, a period when religious painting in Europe was inspired by the recent archaeological discoveries of the tombs of the early Christian martyrs in the catacombs.



The Spanish telephone company led by César Alierta today renewed its commitment to continue as a Benefactor of the Prado’s Visitor Attention Programme during the first event at the institution attended by the new Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, José Ignacio Wert. Mr Wert’s presence was intended to emphasise his awareness of the importance of the support given to the world of culture by civil society. In addition, the Minister was present on the first day of the Museum’s new 7-days-a-week opening hours.

Plácido Arango, President of the Museum’s Royal Board of Trustees; José Ignacio Wert, the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture and César Alierta, President of Telefónica


The Museo del Prado ended 2011 with a total of 2,911,767 visitors, plus the exceptional 863,957 visitors who attended the two exhibitions within its International Prado programme, held in Saint Petersburg (The Prado in the Hermitage, 25 February to 29 May 2011) and in Tokyo (Goya. Light and Shade, 22 October 2011 to 29 January 2012).



This unique painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, acquired by the Museo del Prado in late 2010 through exceptional funding from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, is now on display at the Museum following a lengthy and complex process of restoration. After the attribution to the artist was fully confirmed during the preliminary study undertaken in the Museum's restoration studios prior to its acquisition, The Wine of Saint Martin's Day underwent the most challenging and complex part of its restoration. This procedure was funded by Fundación Iberdrola in its capacity as Protector Member of the Museum's restoration programme. In order to highlight the importance of this acquisition as well as the delicate restoration carried out in order to stabilise the painting and recover its original textures and colours, the Prado is now presenting it separately in a special



These two celebrated paintings by the great Sevilian master are now on display in the Museum’s Basilical Gallery (which houses Las Meninas) with all their painterly qualities fully restored and without the 18th-century additions that distorted the compositions and negatively affected a visual comprehension of the series of which they were originally part together with the three other famous equestrian portraits by the artist, also on display in this gallery. In addition, the sculpture of The sleeping Ariadne (2nd century AD), which is a Roman variant of a 2nd century BC Greek sculpture, is once again on display following its restoration and the remodelling of the unique space known as the “Ariadne Rotunda” in which it has traditionally been shown



The next Chair of the Museo del Prado, directed by the prestigious American hispanist Jonathan Brown and sponsored by Fundación Mutua Madrileña, will be held between May and October 2012 with the title Golden Age Painting: personal perspectives. Professor Brown, whose career was once again recognised today at the Museum with the award of a prize by the Fundación Consejo de España-EEUU, took advantage of his trip to Madrid to outline the principal subjects to be covered by the lectures and seminars that will constitute this new Chair. Applications for enrolment and grants can now be made to the Museum.



The Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado (FAMP) has donated an important work to the Museum by Antonio Joli, a leading Modena-born painter of the 18th century. View of Queen Maria Amalia of Saxony at the Arch of Trajan in Benevento will be on display from today until 26 February at the Museum alongside a small group of paintings from the Prado’s collection by the artist and his artistic predecessors. This display will also include a group of etchings, including two loaned from the Biblioteca Histórica of the Universidad Complutense, Madrid. Together, these works will locate Joli’s painting in its historical and artistic context.



From Tuesday 8 November visitors to the Prado will be able to see this major exhibition of almost 180 works through which the Museum is proud to reveal the enormous variety and richness of the Hermitage’s collections. These great collections span the 5th century BC to the 20th century and include outstanding archaeological items, the decorative arts and the Museum’s remarkable holdings of paintings, sculptures and drawings. Co-organised by Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and sponsored by Fundación BBVA, the exhibition is a unique event in that it is the largest and most important selection of works from the Hermitage to be exhibited outside of that Museum. It marks the conclusion of the unprecedented exchange of collections between these two great museums within the context of the bi-lateral Spain-Russia Year 20011 that began earlier this year with the presentation of The Prado in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.



The Museo del Prado today took the decision to increase its opening hours to every day of the week in order to improve and expand its cultural activities and thus guarantee its commitment to covering 60% of its budget through self-financing. This new initiative starts with the exhibition 'The Hermitage in the Prado', which will be open every day of the week, from Mondays to Sundays, from the day it opens on 8 November. The Museum’s Permanent Collection will also have new opening hours from 16 January.

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