Prado Museum Passage Gate: A monumental gateway

Perspectiva ascendente del Portón-Pasaje al Museo del Prado. Obra de Cristina Iglesias bajo el cielo azul, una obra maestra moderna

In the heart of Madrid, the Prado Museum houses one of the most impressive sculptures by Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias. This great work, called “Gate – Passage”, is not only a ceremonial entrance, but also an important free-standing sculpture. The piece was created between 2006 and 2007 as part of the museum expansion designed by Rafael Moneo and is located on Ruíz de Alarcón Street.

The door of the Prado Museum

The work is composed of six enormous bronze pieces, each six meters high, with a total weight of 22 tons. The structure has a hydraulic mechanism for opening and closing the doors during specific times. This allows visitors to view the work at certain times of the day. This complicated system is managed by rotary motors, which adds a dynamic and technological component to the sculpture.

Design and materials

The choice of bronze is no coincidence. This material not only guarantees durability and resistance, but also provides a majestic and timeless aesthetic. Each of the six pieces has intricate designs of invented plants, very typical of Iglesias’ other works. These designs make people think about how nature and architecture are connected. These details not only add visual depth to the work, but also create a unique tactile and sensory experience.

Technology and functionality

The Gate-Passage is not only an aesthetic work of art. Thanks to its sophisticated hydraulic system and rotary motors, the doors can open and close automatically at specific times of the day, transforming the sculpture into an interactive installation where movement adds an extra dimension to the visitor experience.

This technological component, which integrates art with advanced engineering, reinforces the idea that contemporary art can be both beautiful and functional, standing out for its impressive scale and design.

Side view of the Prado Museum door by Cristina Iglesias in Madrid.

The extension of the Prado Museum

In 1996 a competition was called for the extension of the Prado Museum where the exact limits of the site were not defined, leaving it in the hands of the architect. More than seven hundred projects participated in this competition, which was finally won by Rafael Moneo with his project called “Buen Retiro”.

His project sought to modernize and expand the museum without losing its history. Moneo asked Cristina Iglesias to make a door that was both useful and a work of art. Moneo and Iglesias collaborated to modernize the Prado. The piece created represents the challenges of the 21st century, preserving the identity and essence of the place.

Museo del Prado: A beacon between classical and contemporary art

The Prado Museum is an emblematic place and very visited by the world’s population. It has many works of European art from the twelfth century to the twentieth century. El Portón-Pasaje joins contemporary art, connecting ancient artistic traditions with modern expressions, demonstrating a great commitment to today’s culture.

Cristina Iglesias: Pioneer of contemporary art

Cristina Iglesias, born in 1956 in San Sebastian, is a famous Spanish sculptor and artist. Known for her installations and large-scale works that investigate how space, nature and architecture interact. His works challenge the norms of traditional sculpture, inviting viewers to experience art in an immersive and thoughtful way.

Meaning and function of sculpture

The artist Cristina Iglesias defines and describes the Portón-Pasaje as a “transit” that represents the Prado Museum’s journey into the future. More than a simple entrance, the work acts as a threshold connecting the past with the present, symbolizing the museum’s continuous evolution.

Six bronze pieces have vegetation designs. These pieces invite us to reflect on the relationship between nature and architecture. They create a unique and evocative experience for visitors.

Hydraulic system and rotary motors of the Prado Museum's Passage Gate in action.

Sculpture that opens dialogues between epochs

El Portón-Pasaje at the Prado Museum highlights modern sculpture. The museum, which is usually focused on classical painting and sculpture, through the work of Cristina Iglesias connects with different artistic periods and demonstrates that contemporary art can coexist and enrich the history of the museum.

How the doors of the Prado Museum work

To better appreciate this majestic work, below you can watch a video that shows the Gateway-Passage in all its splendor:

El Portón-Pasaje by Cristina Iglesias is a large sculpture at the entrance of the Prado Museum. It combines art, technology and history to welcome visitors to a new stage of the museum.

Do you want to see the project realized? Click here

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