Archive for September 3rd, 2019

September 3, 2019

Cason del Buen Retiro and Salon de Reinos ,Madrid of course!

And continuing with my great fun time spent in my beloved Madrid recently, let me bring you to something often overlook by visitors, of what I call off the beaten path even if they are in a very popular spot!

This is all part of the Prado museum of Spain and the world! Let me tell you a bit of history on the Cason del Buen Retiro and the Salon de Reinos. Anecdote I used to hang out around the Cason as in those days you can meet girls there after school coming off the bigger Retiro park lol!

The Casón del Buen Retiro is one of only two buildings that survive the destruction of the Buen Retiro Palace, from which it takes its name. Built in 1637, it is initially thought of as a dance hall of the Court of Felipe   IV. This was part of the Retiro park then.


From 1971, it depends on the Prado Museum and has more than 3,000 paintings, including Picasso’s Guernica before it was transferred to the Reina Sofía museum in 1992. After years of work, the building is transformed into center of studies in 2009, while collections of paintings of the 19C are relocated to the main Prado museum after its enlargement


A bit of history I like

Originally it was not an independent building, but an intersection or segment in a significant succession of buildings. The other surviving building of the Buen Retiro palace is the Salon de Reinos or hall of realms, which for decades was the headquarters of the Army Museum, until its move to the Prado Museum.


The painter Luca Giordano participated in the decoration of the Casón. He painted Allegory to the Golden Fleece on the vault of the building. It is practically the only original element that remains, although in reality this panel was largely restored by two painters of the 19C. It was added two new facades,in neoclassical style.

The building was operated as a royal cabinet for topographic studies as early as 1831. Previously, it was the seat of the royal cabinet of machines. During the 20C,the Casón or hut, so called because of its sorry appearance then was used for different purposes. In 1971 it was ceded to the Prado Museum to house the collection of paintings of the 19C. These paintings had belonged to the Spanish Museum of Modern Art, created in 1894.   it was decided in 1971 to return the paintings of the 19C to the Prado and to leave the remaining ones of the 20C in a new building built at the university campus: the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art (MEAC) which was transformed in 1988 into the National Museum of Reina Sofia and moved in 1992 to its current site.


The Casón del Buen Retiro received in 1981 the Picasso legacy, of which most important work was Guernica. Along with him, other significant legacies were exhibited, such as that of Arthur Doug Cooper or Piler Juncosa, widow of Joan Miró. They were then moved to the Reina Sofia Museum. Under the auspices of public art collections, the artists who were born after Picasso would go to Reina Sofia museum, and those born before they would stay in the Prado.


The final use of the building is to host the Center of Studies of the Museum called the Prado school, following the model of the School of the Louvre. It devotes itself to the study of works of art and to the training of art expert. This is where the documentation, archive, library and conservation departments of the Prado Museum are located. It owns books on painting, drawing and iconography, sculpture and the decorative arts, from the Middle Ages to the 19C. There are exhibition catalogs; also a large old fund, largely made up of acquisitions of the Cervella and Madrazo libraries.

Prado museum on the Cason del Buen Retiro

The Salon of Realms or Salon de Reinos or Grande is a museum in the heart of Madrid. The building is the main body of the Buen Retiro palace built between 1630 and 1635, and houses the royal collections of paintings now preserved in the Prado Museum. The salon owes its name to the shields of the 24 kingdoms that are painted and represent the territories under the control of the Spanish monarchy in the time of Felipe IV . Today, the building is also known as the Army Museum, which was housed there until it was moved to the Alcázar of Toledo. With the Casón del Buen Retiro, the Salon of Realms is the only remaining architectural vestige of the old palace.


Initially it was designed as a royal entertainment venue, but when it was decided to transform the Buen Retiro into a real palace it was added a ceremonial function, as for the Throne Room. The Salon never gave up its festive function, it is used for shows and evenings, exploiting its circular balcony which allowed to observe the celebrations from above. As the throne room it was to impress the ambassadors and distinguished members of the European foreign courts who are welcomed at the palace


The Salon of Realms and the Fiestas ( better known as the Casón del Buen Retiro ), were the only rooms that resisted the intense bombing and attacks by the French during the Napoleonic invasion, between 1808 and 1814. The appearance of the building was profoundly modified by the transformations of the 20C once the Spanish War of Independence ended. For a long time, the building houses the Army Museum. At the beginning of the 21C it was moved this museum to the Alcázar of Toledo, and made the Salon of Realms or Salon de Reinos of the Prado Museum dependent, like the Casón del Buen Retiro. The option finally chosen was to used it with its annexes for the temporary exhibitions.

Prado museum on the Salon de Reinos

There you go two wonderful buildings you should seek out when in Madrid and time away from the main Prado museum , if possible! This is wonderful Madrid a lot more than tapas and cañas I said!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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