Spain's iconic Prado museum marks 200th anniversary
By Nilay Syam

The Museum of Prado in Madrid, one of Europe's leading art galleries, attracting millions of tourists every year, celebrated its 200th anniversary on Tuesday.

Described as a museum dedicated to painters – about 7,000 presently, along with more than 18,000 other forms of artwork, the Prado is home to world-renowned creations including that of Goya, Velasquez, and El Greco.

A tourist magnet, it attracts over three million people annually.

Carlos Chaguaceda, head of communication at the museum said: "It's not a museum that was built on the idea to collect and keep all the pieces of art of their time there. It's a museum of personal taste."

"The kings, when the Spanish monarchy was the most powerful in the world back in the 15th and 16th century, called the artists and bought all the paintings they liked."

He added: "They liked the most famous painters of the time, Bosco, Rubens, Tiziano, Velazquez. So, nobody in the world has more ... than the Prado museum."

Commissioned by King Charles III of Spain, the building was designed by architect Juan de Villanueva. After completion in 1785, it was first used as a center for the natural sciences.

Three decades later in 1819, on the orders of King Ferdinand VII and Queen Maria Isabel de Braganza, a public gallery emerged.

To mark its bicentenary, the museum will host a unique exhibition, featuring over 300 of Goya's drawings.