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The Prado Museum (Spanish: Museo del Prado; Spanish pronunciation: [muˈseo ðel ˈpɾaðo]) is the main Spanish national art museum , located in central Madrid . It is widely considered to have one of the world 's finest collections of European art , dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century , based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and the single best collection of Spanish art . Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture in 1819, it also contains important collections of other types of works. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world , and it is considered one of the greatest art museums in the world . The numerous works by Francisco Goya, the single most extensively represented artist , as well as by Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco , Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and Diego Velázquez, are some of the highlights of the collection. The collection currently comprises around 8,200 drawings, 7,600 paintings , 4,800 prints, and 1,000 sculptures, in addition to a large number of other works of art and historic documents. As of 2012 , the museum displayed about 1,300 works in the main buildings , while around 3,100 works were on temporary loan to various museums and official institutions. The remainder were in storage. The museum received 2.8 million visitors in 2012 . It is one of the largest museums in Spain .