From Velázquez to Picasso: the Prado brings together 36 donations from the last four decades

Carlos Zurita, Miquel Iceta, Queen Letizia, Javier Solana and Miguel Falomir Faus.

Carlos Zurita, Miquel Iceta, Queen Letizia, Javier Solana and Miguel Falomir Faus.

The Prado Museum has inaugurated the exhibition ‘Forty years of friendship. Donations from the Friends of the Prado Museum Foundation‘, which can be seen until January 16, 2022 in room 9 of the Villanueva building to recognize and pay tribute to the donations received in the last 40 years.

The exhibition brings together for the first time the works donated by the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado. It consists of 36 works by a relevant group of artists, including three masters of Spanish painting: Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya and Pablo Picasso.

The works are divided into four sections that refer to different ways in which the Foundation has collaborated in enriching the Museum’s collections. The first of them, chaired by ‘The Virgin of the Granada’ by Fra Angelico, shows the bulk of the donated works and culminates with the ‘Aníbal victor’ – donated by the Foundation on the occasion of its 40th anniversary.

The second includes a selection of twelve of the 96 works made by contemporary artists whom the Foundation invited to dialogue with the Prado collections and which it later donated to the Museum. The third shows the works that come from donations from the Drawings and Prints Commission that the institution created, within the Velázquez Circle.

Likewise, the last section is dedicated to the works that are related to the more international aspect of the Foundation, well donated by their International Board of Trustees, or to American Friends of the Prado Museum, an organization with which it shares objectives. The exhibition has subsequently been inaugurated by the Queen Letizia.

Since its creation in December 1980, the Friends of the Prado Museum Foundation It has launched various projects and, since the signing of the agreement between the two institutions in 2009, has contributed nearly 30 million euros to the Museum.

The museum director, Miguel Falomir, has reviewed at the conclusion of the presentation of this exhibition some of the pending challenges of the art gallery for next year, as well as the current situation of a new normal after the coup that the restrictions caused by the coronavirus.

The best post-pandemic month

At the moment, the Prado has reached the best month in post-pandemic visitor numbers, with 116,956 people and already moves around 30-40% of regular visitors before the health crisis. “It’s fine and there are more and more people,” said Falomir, who hopes to reach one million visitors by the end of the year.

This figure was also reached in 2020, but with the months of January and February at full capacity that marked historical numbers of visits. In the prepandemic year, the number of visitors to the Prado exceeded 3,350,000 people. The arrival of foreigners will be key to improving the numbers, since in 2019 they accounted for almost 70% of visits.

Hall of Kingdoms

An exhibition on baroque painting, another around the ‘Mona Lisa’ owned by the Prado and the ‘Tornaviaje’ will be the museum closing year bets, who also hopes that in 2022 the recovery of the Ionic Gallery for the collection of classical sculpture will become a reality.

But Falomir has also advanced that Before the end of 2020, the rehabilitation works of the Salón de Reinos will begin. From that moment, the Museum’s accounts point to 36 months for the building to be ready and everything is pending to materialize the line of credit for the works in the General State Budgets.


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