Casón del Buen Retiro (Prado Annex) (Art museum with paintings from the 19th century) Alfonso XII, 28 - Metro stops: Banco de España & Retiro
Latest update: October, 2008 Casón del Buen Retiro seen from Retiro Park
Photo: June 3, 1998

The above photo of the Casón del Buen Retiro was taken as I was leaving Retiro Park in 1998. I walked right by it on my way to the Prado Museum's art shop. For those who can read Spanish, I give you a reference to the history of this building. The Casón del Buen Retiro and the Museo del Ejército are all that remain of a larger structure called the Palacio del Buen Retiro, formerly the king's palace in his private garden (now known as Retiro Park). At present, the Army Museum is closed, and its contents are being moved to the Alcázar fortress in Toledo about 30 miles to the southwest of Madrid.

If you want to see the Prado's 19th-century art collection you've got to visit the Casón del Buen Retiro. But it was closed for renovations in 1997 meaning I didn't have the chance to visit there in my three long visits to Madrid (1998-2000). It will reopen in the fall of 2008.

That means that you will again be able to visit the museum and see my favorite portrait, that of the Countess of Vilches (Doña Amalia de LLano y Dotres) painted in 1853 by Europe's finest 19th-century portrait artist, Federico Madrazo who on two occasions was director of the Prado Museum.

Several years before coming to Madrid, I had discovered this portrait in an art book. As described above, I walked past the Casón del Buen Retiro on my way to the art shop on the 1st floor of the Prado Museum, where I asked to buy a reproduction of this painting. I expected to be told that it wasn't available, but, instead, the sales lady asked me if I wanted the small one or the large one! The large one now hangs in my living room. But I have found an excellent copy so that now you, too, can see Amalia

Here is a reference with additional information about the more than thirty large art museums in Madrid

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