Casón del Buen Retiro

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The main (east) façade and entrance, viewed from the west side of the Retiro Park, on calle Alfonso XII.
The west façade, by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco.
The Allegory of the Golden Fleece, by Luca Giordano.

The Casón del Buen Retiro is an annex of the Museo del Prado complex in Madrid. Following major restoration work, which was completed in October 2007,[1] it now houses the Museum's study centre (the Escuela del Prado) and library.

Picasso's Guernica canvas, and the sketches associated with its creation, were on display at the Casón from 1981, when it was delivered to Spain from New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), to 1992, when it was moved to its current permanent location in a purpose-built gallery at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.[2]

History[edit]

Located in front of the Puerta de Felipe IV entrance to the west side of the Retiro Park, the Casón was originally built as the ballroom, the Salón de Baile, of the Buen Retiro Palace, of which now only two buildings, the Casón and the Salón de Reinos which, until it was moved to the Alcázar de Toledo in 2010, housed the Museo del Ejército (Army Museum), still remain.

The artistic importance of Luca Giordano's The Allegory of the Golden Fleece, on the ceiling of the Casón, commissioned by King Charles II of Spain (ca.1697), and considered one of the masterpieces of the Prado, is one of the possible reasons given for the building having survived when most of the other buildings in the Bueno Retiro palace complex were knocked down.[3]

From 1877 to 1960 the Casón was used as the Museo de Reproducciones Artísticas, set up by the then President of the Government, Antonio Canovas del Castillo, until it was moved to the Museo de América. The building was then used as a temporary exhibition space until 1971. From 1971 to 1981 it was used by the Museo del Prado for the 19th-century collections paintings and sculptures which had formerly been in the Museo de Arte Moderno and from 1981 to 1992, when it was moved to the Museo Reina Sofía, the Casón housed Picasso’s Guernica painting.[2]

Library[edit]

The library of the Museo del Prado, on the ground floor of the Casón building, consists of the Reading Room for the use of researchers, the museum's technical staff and students of the Escuela del Prado, and the book stores located in the basements. It comprises some 70,000 books, including those acquired from two private collections, those of José María Cervelló and of the Daza-Madrazo family, the latter mostly books belonging to the painter José de Madrazo, director of the Museo del Prado from 1838 to 1851.[1]

Escuela del Prado[edit]

The Escuela del Prado.[4]

Restoration work[edit]

From 1997 to 2007,[1] the Casón was closed for re-modelling and enlargement.[5] Works included the excavation of two new floors, resulting in almost double the pre-existing surface area.[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Casón del Buen Retiro at Wikimedia Commons