Whether you’re into art or not, a visit to the local big gallery should be indispensable. In Madrid that gallery is none other than the Museo Nacional del Prado (Calle Ruiz de Alarcon 23), where you’ll find one of the world’s most critical collections of artistic treasures. There are well over a couple of dozen masterpieces from the permanent exhibit alone. Names such as Caravaggio, Goya, Durer, Rubens, Tiepolo, Velasquez, Raphael and many more well-known artists hang on just about every wall.
For complete novices, the standard audio guides are available in English. Allow for about 2-3 hours of viewing, but more, of course, for the genuine connoisseurs.
And Rembrandt fans take note: the exhibit Rembrandt: Painter of Stories opened only this week and will last until January 6, 2009. Admission is €8. It is a relatively small exhibition that centres on works with a biblical or historical context, including – for example – the very gruesome The Blinding of Samson, my favourite Bathsheba and The Apostle Bartholomew.