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The Museo del Prado in Madrid. Photo: Brian Snelson/Flickr.
The Museo del Prado in Madrid. Photo: Brian Snelson/Flickr.

Spain Approves $42 Million for Prado Expansion

Following a six-year delay fueled by the Covid-19 crisis and by political and financial tensions reverberating throughout the country, Spain’s council of ministers has awarded Madrid’s Museo Nacional del Prado $42 million to complete a long-anticipated expansion. The country will dole out the funds over a three-year span, allowing the institution to renovate the neighboring Hall of Realms, which it purchased in 2012. El Pais, which broke the news, cited 2024 as the projected date for the expansion’s completion.

The renovation is being jointly handled by British architects Foster and Partners and Spanish firm Rubio Arquitectura, and will see a connecting pathway built between the Prado and the Hall of Realms, a palace dating to the seventeenth century that was once home to the Royal Collection’s large-scale paintings. The Hall of Realms and its many murals and friezes will also be restored, and it is rumored that paintings—including some by Diego Velázquez—that migrated from the palace to the nineteenth-century building housing the Prado may make their way back to the older structure’s grand confines. Additionally, the Hall of Realms is to receive a large atrium through which visitors can enter, as well as a third floor and a terrace. The expansion is expected to give the Prado an extra 27,000 square feet of exhibition space.

According to El Diario, the funding was made available through a “legal shortcut” and is considered to be apart from the ministry of culture’s regular budget. The money will be disbursed annually, in three separate tranches, with the museum receiving $9.6 million in 2022, $24.1 million in 2023, and $8.4 million in 2024.