Rating : ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Availability: In cinemas
Plot: The Prado Museum in Madrid had its 200th anniversary in 2019, and this documentary is a celebration of its enduring commitment to the collection and presentation of western art. We get to see lots of magnificent artworks from leading European artists over the centuries. British actor Jeremy Irons guides us through the precious collections, telling the story of the origins of the museum, its royal patronage, and the social and historical events that have shaped the collection over time.
Cast: While Jeremy Irons takes the lead presentation, and does so with his usual aplomb, the details about the collection and particular works of art are provided by staff and associates of the Prado. They bring vast knowledge, expertise, and passion to the narration. The film is, nevertheless, all about the artists and their works that fill the rooms of this internationally acclaimed gallery – Titian, Raphael, Rubens, Dürer, El Greco, Caravaggio, along with the much loved Spanish artists, Goya and Velazquez.
Filming and Setting: Three women bring this splendid documentary to the screen. Valeria Parisi directed (Maverick Modigliani), Didi Gnocchi produced the film (with 3D Produzioni – an Italian company that produces some of the best of these art-focused documentaries), and Sabina Fedeli (Hitler versus Picasso) wrote the screenplay. They bring a depth of experience in the arts as they expertly weave together artistic and political histories, along with the human experience of stepping into these interconnected worlds. We also get to hear something about women artists represented in the collection – how they made their mark in a world that is completely dominated by men, and the challenges they faced in both making and presenting art.
Personal Comments: This is a terrific documentary. It is beautifully filmed, and it does an excellent job of presenting an eclectic collection based on the likes and dislikes of the Spanish royals. You don’t need to be an expert on art to enjoy this film. For art lovers though, it’s a must-see. But you need to brace yourself – it will leave you longing for a trip to Madrid.