I am making plans to travel to Madrid in the autumn to visit the newly built extension of the Prado Museum.
Last time I visited the Prado was about a year ago when I attended a slightly disappointing ‘Picasso – Tradición y vanguardia’ show presented on the occasion of the Spanish artist’s 125th birthday.
The Prado museum is bursting at its seams, but luckily for the museum people, a deal could be struck with the Pope. The cloisters of the neighboring San Jerónimo church now forms part of the Prado museum, and work on the largest expansion in the Prado’s nearly 200 year history started at the end of 2002 with a budget of over 152 million Euros. This new 22,000 sqm annex was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo from Navarra and was officially opened last March. The new wing adds fifty per cent to the museum’s total space allowing the Prado to exhibit some 500 more works from their vast permanent collection. The cloisters’ annex will also house the ticket booths, an auditorium and a new cafeteria. The annex is open to the public now without any artworks in place, i. e. empty and will officially open on 30 October with a special exhibit of 19th century Spanish paintings. To be honest, I shall be more interested in the architecture than the paintings.
A few years ago I had a chance to attend a talk given by Rafael Moneo in Mallorca. He is also the architect of the Miró Museum in Palma de Mallorca. Some other examples of his remarkable work are the Atocha railway station in Madrid, the Kursaal Auditorium in San Sebastian, Spain, and the Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Moneo has also collaborated with Jørn Utzon in the making of the plans for the famous Opera House in Sydney, Australia, and he was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995.
I can’t wait to see the Prado’s new cloisters.
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid, the MNACRS Reina Sofía, has also had a new annex building added to it recently. I have visited this work by French architect, Jean Nouvel, already once, but will not hesitate to revisit the MNACRS on my forthcoming visit. You may have heard of Jean Nouvel with regard to the Torre Agbar building in Barcelona.
How about it, Rick? Will you come?