Madrid's Prado Suffers Drop in Visitor Numbers

Madrid's prestigious Prado Museum said Tuesday that visitor numbers were down slightly last year despite some star exhibitions, such as one by English master J.M.W. Turner.

Some 2.732 million people visited the Prado in 2010, down from 2.764 million the previous year and the first decline since it opened a new ultra-modern wing in 2007.

The management had expected such a drop, blaming it on the economic crisis.

The Prado is currently showing the first major retrospective in Spain of French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, an exhibition that runs until February 6.

From June 22 until September 19 last year, the museum staged an exhibition entitled "Turner and the Masters", which explored the links between the 19th-century Joseph Mallord William Turner and his artistic forebears.

Another of Madrid's great museums, the Reina Sofia, saw a slight increase in visitors last year, drawing some 2.313 million, up 226,117 from 2009.

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