The Central Gallery has been remodelled with regard to its architectural structure, following the same museological criteria applied to the other galleries in the Villanueva Building and in conformance with the schedule announced in the Museum's Collections Reorganisation Plan.
With the overall aim of respecting Juan de Villanueva's original architectural design, the work undertaken in the Central Gallery (rooms 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29) has involved the reinstatement of three architectural elements that have returned the Gallery to its original appearance. In addition, they introduce a new route for visitors and one that revives Villanueva's original concept of circulation, involving a continuous flow between the two rotundas that flank the Central Gallery at its north and south ends.
These recent changes conform to Juan de Villanueva's original design as set out in his plans and in the architectural model of the Museum that is now on display in room 75. It should noted, however, that the previously sealed-up doors and windows were the result of the building's permanent evolution over the years as it was adapted to the requirements of the institution that it houses, responding to conservation and display criteria in relation to the works exhibited at different moments in the Prado's history.
The three elements that have now been reinstated are:
- The door that connects rooms 25 with the North Ionic Gallery, a space that will soon be inaugurated for the display of works from the Museum's sculpture collection, thus creating an extremely attractive passing-through area and making it possible to follow a route parallel to the Central Gallery. In addition, this space will be opened up onto the Paseo del Prado, creating an extremely beautiful visual axis.
- The window on the east wall of room 25 opposite the above-mentioned door and opening onto an interior courtyard that has recently been restored under the supervision of the architect Rafael Moneo. The reinstatement of this element allows for the entry of natural light into the Gallery and gives the rooms a new luminosity while also creating a pleasant environment for the visitor and helping to establish a compositional balance between the Gallery's architectural elements.
- The two doors located on the south wall of the Central Gallery next to the door that leads into room 32. Their reinstatement opens up two new circulatory axes that encompass room 32 and re-establishes an extremely interesting perimeter route that circulates between the Murillo wing and the Central Gallery. In addition, these doors give the Central Gallery a new appearance and a new compositional structure at the south end.