The Cason del Buen Retiro of Madrid !!

Ahh here is the crème de la crème of my dear Madrid, I will update this older post to 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 of Madrid !!.


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 (see post) 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. The main benefactor of the Cason del Buen Retiro has a statue in front, Spanish queen Maria Cristina de Habsburgo!


The official Prado museum on the Cason del Buen Retiro

The Madrid tourist office on the Cason del Buen Retiro

There you go folks, 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! 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!

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

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