King unveils new wing at Prado Museum
30 October 2007, MADRID - (AFP) - Spain's King Juan Carlos unveiled Tuesday a new ultra-modern wing at the Prado museum in Madrid, the biggest expansion and renovation project in its 200-year history.
30 October 2007
MADRID - (AFP) - Spain's King Juan Carlos unveiled Tuesday a new ultra-modern wing at the Prado museum in Madrid, the biggest expansion and renovation project in its 200-year history.
"The Prado helps to identify ourselves as a great nation," said the king, who was accompanied by his wife Queen Sofia and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The Prado houses works from some of Spain's most important artists such as Velazquez and Goya as well as other pre-20th century masters like El Greco and Rubens.
The extension and renovation of the museum will allow it to show some 400 additional paintings alongside the 1,000 already on display in the permament collection.
The new red brick cube-shaped annex was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. The most striking feature of the interior is the 17th century cloister of the adjacent San Jeronimo church.
The granite walls of the cloister were dismantled, piece by piece, then renovated and reassembled inside the new extension, and now house a collection of the museum's sculptures under the glass roof.
The long-awaited extension was conceived in 1994 but work did not begin until 2002. Costs tripled in comparison to initial estimates to 152 million euros (215 million US dollars).
It will open to the public Wednesday and entry to the museum will be free until November 4.
The Prado is one of Madrid's top tourist draws, attracting 2.1 million visitors last year. Officials expect the new wing will push the number of annual visitors above the three million mark.
Subject: Spanish news