A collection of great Spanish painting, featuring Velazquez and Goya, plus Italian and Flemish masters, are the major claims to fame of the Prado museum. Juan de Villanueva designed the building in the eighteenth century to house examples of the Natural Sciences, but, over time, the inclusion of the royal art collections transformed it into leading art gallery. The Prado is the most visited museum in Spain and in addition to its fine permanent collection it hosts major temporary exhibitions. The museum's most famous works include Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez, and pair of works by Francisco de Goya, The Naked Maja and The Clothed Maja. Opposite the Murillo entrance, and associated back with the Prado's original purpose as natural history museum, is the botanical garden, with its magnificent collection of plants.
The new Prado
The architect Rafael Moneo is responsible for the recent extension and modernisation project which has led to the incorporation in the museum complex of the restored cloister of the monastery of los Jeronimos. This project has permitted the display of works that had been in store for many years, especially those relating to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The triangle of art
Madrid is proud to host, in a small area, on of the most important museum complexes in the world. The Prado, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza stand at the corners of what has become known as Madrid's Triangle of Art.
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