Into the Light at the Prado Museum

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Roland Halbe

INSPIRED: Moneo's extension

The new wing of Madrid's Prado museum is humming with activity as curators prepare for its Oct. 31 opening. Above ground, in galleries built around architect Rafael Moneo's translucent, lantern-shaped patio, epic-sized historical paintings from the museum's rarely displayed 19th century collection rest against the walls, waiting to be fitted into their frames. Below ground, white-gloved workers are laboriously transferring the 3,000 works currently in storage to a new, climate-controlled archive system. And in the Room of Muses, a lone conservator painstakingly cleans a sculpture of Erato, the Greek muse of lyric poetry, one of eight statues that give the museum's...