The Prado Museum VR

In the 1870s (probably in 1875-1877), the French photographer Jean Laurent captured a view of the Sala de la Reina Isabel of the Prado Museum in Madrid. Occupying the apse in the center of the building that the architect Juan de Villanueva had planned a century earlier as an auditorium, the Sala de la Reina Isabel contained the highlights of the museum’s collection. Much like in the Tribuna of the Uffizi gallery or the Salón Carré of the Louvre, paintings were arranged to facilitate aesthetic comparison. The space was reformed in 1893 and was rededicated in 1899 as the Sala Velázquez.

This reconstruction revives the structure that still exists but has been deeply transformed. Only a section of the room is visible on Laurent’s photograph. The complete view was inferred analyzing the photographer’s camera position, the measurements contained in 1887 renovation plans, and 19th-century guidebooks from Spain, France, and Great Britain. The frames, numbers, and attributions reflecting late-1870s standards follow Laurent’s photographs of individual paintings.

Welcome to another Prado.

Project Team:

  • Concept and project director: Eugenia Afinoguénova
  • Research: Eugenia Afinoguénova and Pierre Géal in consultation with Museo Nacional del Prado
  • Glass plate negative: MADRID- Vista de la Sala de Isabel II, en el Museo Nacional de pintura [Museo del Prado]. Fototeca del Patrimonio Histórico, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. Archivo Ruiz Vernacci, VN-04098

  • Produced by MarVL (Marquette University Visualization Lab, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
  • Spatial analysis and design, architectural drawing, frames: Giuseppe Mazzone
  • Finalizing the project, 3D Visualization, Virtual Reality: Chris Larkee
  • MarVL: John LaDisa

How to cite this project: “La Sala de la Reina Isabel at the Prado museum in Madrid: A 3D/VR reconstruction according to a photograph by Jean Laurent, 1875-1877,” MarVL and Eugenia Afinoguénova with Pierre Géal, Chris Larkee and Giuseppe Mazzone. Marquette University, 2015-2018.

Licenced under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0.