Aimed at a world-wide audience, this App is now available in five languages: Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese, while from the end of May it will also be offered in German, Russian and Japanese. This App makes the core of the Collection available to everyone interested in the history of world art and is aimed at both the general user and experts. It features reproductions of 400 works in exceptionally high quality, accompanied by concise, rigorous and accessible texts written by a team of specialists coordinated by the Museum. First published in its printed version in 2008, 240,000 copies of The Prado Guide are currently in circulation in the 8 languages in which the App format is now also available.
The App now makes worldwide distribution possible, bringing the Collection to all iPad users and in particular to the nationalities that most visit Museum: the Italians, Americans, French and Japanese. In 2012, 7.6% of visitors came from Italy, 6% from the USA, 4.55% from France and 3.76% from Japan.
The Museo del Prado had more than 4.5 million visits to its website in 2012, which is a higher number than the record for actual visits to the Museum: 3 million in 2012. Within the context of the present economic crisis that has resulted in a decrease in visitor numbers to the Museum, the importance of this new initiative should certainly be assessed in the sense of its effectiveness as a means of promoting the Prado as an embodiment of universal culture profoundly associated with Spain. An additional factor is the enormous potential of the Spanish language (according to the Instituto Cervantes, it is spoken by more than 495 million people worldwide and is the second language by number of speakers in the world and the second for international communication).
In April 2008 the Museum presented the printed edition of The Prado Guide, which is a publication of a type traditionally produced by museums in the English-speaking world. More than 240,000 copies are now in circulation. Now, in April 2013, the Prado is the first museum to update its complete guide as an App. In addition to increasing dissemination of the Collection and knowledge of it, this Guide responds to the need to make information on the Museum and images of the works accessible to all users in an official version approved by the Prado, as opposed to other versions that have appeared in different formats and which are not of the required quality.
The App format allows for complete freedom when planning a visit and enables visitors to enjoy their experience of the works in an individual manner without the need for guided tours etc. It also offers a more flexible access to the contents, which are now presented by schools and chronologically within each school. Navigation has been optimised to make it as simple and comprehensible as possible while the visual content is particularly impressive, including improved quality reproductions of the works following their recent restoration, now optimised for iPad and viewable for iPad with retina display.
The selection of the 400 principal works in the Permanent Collection encompasses the core of the Museums holdings. They are presented chronologically and grouped according to the most important international schools: Spanish, Italian, Flemish, Dutch, French, German and British, plus two sections on the collection of works on paper and on sculpture and the decorative arts. The selection of works reflects the striking differences between the schools and artists represented in the Prado, within which Velázquez occupies a key role, followed by Goya, El Greco, Titian, Bosch and Rubens.
The App also includes a selection of 50 masterpieces that can be viewed as large images, as well as numerous details of these works. The result allows the user to come much closer to the work than is possible in the Museum and to see the backs of triptychs and diptychs that are not visible in the galleries, including Boschs The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Adoration of the Magi and The Haywain. These backs of paintings were recently the subject of an exhibition at the Museum entitled Closed Triptychs in the Museo del Prado. From Grisaille to Colour.
Another important extra feature is the 5 suggested thematic routes around the Museum: 50 Masterpieces, Velázquez, Venetian Painting, Princesses and Animals in the Prado. These routes allow visitors to locate works in the Museum, prepare a visit beforehand, further their knowledge of the collection with a thematic route or discover an enjoyable way of introducing the Museum to children through themes such as animals or princesses.
Access to the content is through the index of collections or index of artists. There is also the option to save and select works or articles that the user considers most important or relevant in the Favourites section, and to share content on the social networks (Facebook and Twitter) through direct links in the entries on the works. With a design by Fernando Gutiérrez, this APP makes use of Adobe DPS, which is used by leading publications world-wide such as The New Yorker, Wallpaper and Wired. It is on sale in the Appstore at 9.99 Euros/10.99 dollars for all the available languages (the printed version of the Guide costs 19.50 Euros or 23 Euros when sold with an accompanying entry ticket to the Museum).
In conjunction with the launch of the Guide in its digital version, the Café Prado (entry via the Jerónimos Entrance) now has a zone with free, unlimited WiFi for all visitors to the Museum, which will facilitate downloading the App.
On the internet, a new micro-site includes all the necessary information: www.laguiadelprado.com
, while a video filmed in the Museum offers a subjective, personal vision of the experience of visiting the Prado. This video can also be seen on the Prados YouTube channel. National Book Day will once again see the presence of a bookstall inside the Museum, offering catalogues of recent exhibitions at discounted prices. There will also be a 5% discount on books in the Museums Bookshop and from its online shop throughout the week.