“Revisiting Moneo’s Prado” celebrating the 10th anniversary of the museum’s extension

The Museo del Prado is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the largest extension in the history of the Museum – designed by Rafael Moneo – with a commemorative publication that includes a text by Jorge Fernández-Santos illustrated with a photographic essay by Joaquín Bérchez, and a summary of the contribution made by the extension to the overall modernisation of the Museum initiated at that time.

 

Moneo, Villanueva and Cabrero. Photograph taken from Room 516 of the Ritz Hotel, Madrid. © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

Moneo, Villanueva and Cabrero. Photograph taken from Room 516 of the Ritz Hotel, Madrid. © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

 

In addition, the Museum is presenting an exhibition of photographs by Joaquín Bérchez, a photographer, architectural historian and senior professor of art history at the Universidad de Valencia. To complete this celebration, the Prado is presenting ten, new 360-degree videos made with support from Samsung, a technological sponsor of the Prado. The videos show working areas in the extension that are not normally accessible to the public.


 

Practical information

“Revisiting Moneo’s Prado”
27 October, 2017 – 28 January ,2018
Jerónimos Cloister, El Prado Museum
Paseo del Prado, s/n, Madrid
Spain

 


The Museo del Prado is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Rafael Moneo’s extension with a publication that offers a reflection on this project in terms of architecture and museology through a photographic essay by Joaquín Bérchez, a study by Jorge Fernández-Santos and an additional text that reveals the extremely positive transformation that the Museum has undergone over the past ten years. The publication Museo Nacional del Prado. Rafael Moneo, 2007-2017 is also intended as a tribute to that architect and to the dialogue he established with the Juan de Villanueva’s pre-existing building.

 

An up-to-date bel compost for today’s world. Polyhymnia (2nd century A.D.) © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

An up-to-date bel compost for today’s world. Polyhymnia (2nd century A.D.) © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

 Half-light rapture © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

Half-light rapture © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

 

In addition, the photographic exhibition Revisiting Moneo’s Prado, on display until 28 January in the Jerónimos Cloister, offers a visual dialogue through 26 photographs by Joaquín Bérchez which echoes the dialogue established by Rafael Moneo with Villanueva. Making use of a daring range of viewpoints, Bérchez’s photographic gaze explores materials and geometrical forms such as receding lines of brickwork and Cristina Iglesias’s woody bronze doors with the aim of reminding visitors that the discipline of architecture is an intrinsic and permanent aspect of a museum.

 

Classical elegance. New Cloister building. © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

Classical elegance. New Cloister building. © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

 

In these 26 digital photographs, printed on 320 gr. cotton paper, Bérchez’s camera moves through the Hall of the Muses, the main entrance lobby that links the old and new buildings, and the Cloister, capturing our attention with unique spaces, previously unnoticed architectural elements and effects of light.

 

The origins of architecture revisited. Cristina Iglesias’ wood-textured bronze door in the foreground wall of moulded brick courses with recessed joints, and the pillars of the Attic loggia above. © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

The origins of architecture revisited. Cristina Iglesias’ wood-textured bronze door in the foreground wall of moulded brick courses with recessed joints, and the pillars of the Attic loggia above. © Joaquín Berchez. 2017

 

THE MUSEUM’S EXTENSION

Inaugurated by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain, Don Carlos and Dña Sofía, on 30 October 2007 the most important extension to the Museum undertaken in its almost 200 years of history opened to the public, designed and executed by the architect Raphael Moneo. At the same time the Prado embarked on a complete process of institutional renewal and modernisation which encompassed its scholarly activities, exhibition programme and communications strategy and made use of new management resources in order to do so. The importance of the Museo del Prado’s enlargement and modernisation is reflected in the unprecedented parliamentary agreement reached in 1995 which allowed this project to be undertaken independently of any subsequent changes in Spain’s political scenario.

NEW SPACES

Rafael Mondeo’s design for the extension linked the Villanueva Building to a complex consisting of a new building and the restored Jerónimos Cloister – the new Jerónimos Building – through a wedge that acted as a visitor reception and distribution area.
On the outside the link between the old and new buildings is concealed by a landscaped platform planted with box hedges which draws attention to the Museum’s rear façade and creates an urban perspective that leads to the nearby Botanical Gardens. Secondly, the new brick structure built around the old Jerónimos Cloister is aligned with the façade of the Jerónimos church, leaving some of the cloister’s restored and reconstructed arcading visible from the outside.

The extension’s façade opens onto this new exterior space through a pair of monumental bronze doors comprising six moveable bronze panels which Rafael Moneo commissioned from the sculptor Cristina Iglesias.
The extension added a further 15,715 square metres to the Museum’s surface area (adding 50% to the pre-existing surface area of the Villanueva Building) and gave the Prado spaces and installations suitable for expanding both its internal activities of curating and caring for one of the world’s greatest art collections and its external activities in the form of visitor services and activities.

The development of the Museum’s cultural and exhibition activities has expanded enormously with the addition of the new, modern auditorium and new spaces for temporary exhibitions.


 

News source and text: El Prado Museum
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