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Revisiting Moneo's Prado

Madrid 10/27/2017 - 1/28/2018

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The year 2007 saw the completion of the extension to the Museo del Prado designed by Rafael Moneo, a project that added a new building articulated around the restored Jerónimos Cloister to the pre-existing Museum.

The Prado is now celebrating the 10th anniversary of the completion of that project with an exhibition by Joaquín Bérchez, photographer, architectural historian and senior professor of art history at the Universidad de Valencia, whose analysis of Moneo’s architecture is illustrated by 26 photographs on display in the Cloister.

Multimedia

Exhibition

The Exhibition

The Exhibition
Moneo, Villanueva and Cabrero
Photograph taken from Room 516 of the Ritz Hotel, Madrid
© Joaquín Berchez. 2017

Marking the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Museo del Prado’s extension, one of the most complex and important projects within Raphael Moneo’s prestigious international career, the photographic exhibition Revisiting Moneo’ s Prado offers visitors the chance to appreciate unique spaces, unobserved details and effects of light. Located mid-way between narrative and observation, Joaquín Bérchez’s images construct a demanding visual dialogue which in turn reflects the one that Moneo has established with Juan de Villanueva’s exceptional Neo-classical building through his own
rigorous and committed design.

Bérchez’s photographic gaze reveals architectural fragments in brick, stone, marble, stucco, wood, bronze and glass. He leads us into the Hall of the Muses, the oblique, wedge-shaped vestibule and the new cloister. In the Hall of the Muses Bérchez’s camera captures the goddesses, proud of their newly restored basilica, standing in the hemicycle as we listen in on their secret conversations, while another image creates a modern-day bel composto of the inquisitive Polyhymnia.

These photographs also record the oblique cube of the principal vestibule, which is fully connected to the basilical hall despite having its back to it. Through these images we enter this contemporary passing-through or “promenade” space in which the camera’s lens investigates materials and forms that constitute one and the same thing: architecture. Cast shadows, granite calligraphy, details and panoramas, all remind us that construction is flow.

As with Palladio’s Basilica in Vicenza, the “modern-age” cloister has been given a double facing which, by looking both inwards and outwards, allows it to both fit into the Museum and turn towards the surrounding city of Madrid. Hypnotic geometrical plays of light and shadow and unexpected compositional effects are used by the photographer to explore fleeting lines of brick or Cristina Iglesias’ woody bronze that creates a contemporary myth from the form of a primitive cabin. Through its daring interplay of viewpoints, Joaquín Bérchez’s photographic investigation becomes a convincing reminder of the extent to which the discipline of architecture, from Juan de Villanueva to Rafael Moneo, is an intrinsic and essential part of a Museum now approaching its Bicentenary.

Artworks

1

Paseo del Prado, Madrid, 2017

Panoramic view from the former Casa Sindical (Trade Union Building, 1949–51) by Francisco de Asís Cabrero (now the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality)

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

2

Assembly of the Muses

Apse of the Hall of the Muses

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

3

An up-to-date bel compost for today’s world

Polyhymnia (2nd century A.D.)

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

4

Classical props

Truncated Doric shaft in wood for use as a pedestal standing on herringbone pattern floor in stone from Colmenar de Oreja

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

5

Nestling angles

Detail of the soffit with a granite slab and two bronze-plated panel edges coming together. Jerónimos Entrance

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

6

Carpeting the apse

Trapezium-shaped garden with rows of box hedges inside stone borders. The oblique layout leads the eye towards Villanueva’s apse

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

7

Doric reminiscences

Protruding ends of the overhanging bronze-plated beams at the Jerónimos Entrance.

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

8

Urania in the auditorium

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

9

Kallo-graphia at the Museo del Prado

Detail of granite lintel, Jerónimos Entrance.

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

10

The Prado’s antechamber

Seating and steps by the Jerónimos Entrance

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

11

The origins of architecture revisited

Cristina Iglesias’ wood-textured bronze door in the foreground wall of moulded brick courses with recessed joints, and the pillars of the Attic loggia above

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

12

Fluted pulse

Front of fluted Attic pillar (or column) from the loggia of the New Cloister

 

13

Undulating shadow

Cristina Iglesias’ bronze gate hovering above the granite floor

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

14

Geometry of light

Lantern over the staircase to the south of the New Cloister

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

15

Classical elegance

New Cloister building

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

16

Moneo looks out at history

View from the New Cloister gallery

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

17

Compressed spaces

The absent presence of the Ionic gallery of the Villanueva Building

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

18

Moneo, Villanueva and Cabrero

Photograph taken from Room 516 of the Ritz Hotel, Madrid

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

19

Jacobean barcode

Restoration area behind the gallery of the New Cloister

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

20

The cloister on stage

Granite pedestal resting on cothurnus of self-compacting concrete

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

21

The Prado’s baldachin

Soffit of Macael marble slabs roofing the brick gallery

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

22

Solar cloister (a tribute to Lucien Hervé)

Glazed courtyard (or small subsidiary cloister) built around the apse designed by Juan de Villanueva.

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

23

Today’s Attic order

Loggia of fluted columns or pillars, New Cloister by Moneo

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

24

Queuing artworks

Interior of the Rotunda of the Prado Museum (1883) by Pedro Kuntz y Valentini, and Portrait of Manuela Isidra Téllez-Girón, future Duchess of Abrantes (1797) by Agustín Esteve y Marqués.

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

25

Wholesale emotions. Fragment of A Workers’ Strike inVizcaya (1892) by Vicente Cutanda y Toraya, The Immaculate Conception(c. 1665) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo,and St Bartholomew and St Matthew(1610−12) by Peter Paul Rubens

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

26

Half-light rapture

Joaquín Bérchez

2017

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