The works of the expansion of the Prado will last 3 years and will begin in a few months

Queen Letizia opened the museum's new exhibition on Monday.

Queen Letizia opened the museum’s new exhibition on Monday.

The works of the Hall of Kingdoms, the new extension of the Prado Museum, will start between the end of this year and the beginning of next and will last 36 months, if no problems arise during the process, the director of the art gallery, Miguel Falomir, reported this Monday.

The only thing missing would be a series of technical authorizations to tender the works so that the first excavators begin to arrive.

“The estimated time, from the start of the first excavator until it finishes, is 36 months, but it must be taken into account that, being a historical building, you know when it begins, but not when it ends”Falomir told the media

The Prado has tried to “Minimize all surprises” that may arise and that has consisted of reducing excavations to the maximum to prevent the works from hitting the water tables of the nearby Retiro Park.

From the end of the works until it opens to the public, “a few more months” will pass., but the exhibition that the museum has planned will not suppose “a great intervention”.

The project has a financing line of 36 million euros, in this year’s budgets.

The The Prado Museum intended to have more advanced the project for the celebration of the Bicentennial in 2020, but the lack of budget and then the pandemic were delaying it.

The expansion of the Salón de Reinos -former Army Museum- will add 5,700 square meters to the gallery, of which almost 2,600 will be for exhibition space. They will house probably some two hundred works that the gallery cannot exhibit due to lack of space.

The project is framed in a ambitious urban strategy called the Prado Campus which aims to radically change the landscape around the museum, with the pedestrianization of several streets – from the Paseo de la Castellana to the Retiro Park – and the integration in the same space of all the buildings of the art gallery.

The museum – the fifth largest in the world – is gradually recovering visitors, according to Falomir.

In August of this year it has reached 111,000 visitors.

“There is a constant recovery, in August the level of 4,000 visitors a day was reached and stabilized, we are at 30 percent of our regular visitors,” he said.

Approximately 70 percent of the visitors to the gallery are foreigners. Among them there is a high percentage of people from the United States and Asia, which is precisely the foreign public that “is taking the longest to return,” he argued.

The pandemic has brought an evolution of the public to the very curious art gallery: this year the majority segment of visitors moves between 18 and 35 years old, something that had never happened.

The Prado estimates that by the end of the year it will have reached one million visitors, the same number as last year, when the museum was closed for several months due to confinement, but far from the 3.3 million before the coronavirus.


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