Amazing museum! I am not going to describe how magnificent this place is because other reviewers already have said it all.
I just want to advise tourists who have never been in this museum not to go there for the 2 hours free deal from 6 to 8 p.m. It is a long line and by the time you get there it will be very crowded, and you will not have a lot of time to enjoy this museum.
We came at 3 p.m. and found out that the line was a lot shorter than it was in the morning. We spent about 20 minutes waiting to buy our tickets. We stayed all the way until closing time and enjoyed the beautiful art collection that El Prado offers. At 6p.m. when the entrance was free it became very crowded. If i had known that i would have come earlier in order to avoid this crowd. If i am ever back to Madrid i would definitely come back to Museo del Prado and i would go there early in a morning.
On any trip to Europe, every body says make sure you see the Louvre! But, I am completely baffled why no one ever says also see El Prado. In my humble opinions I really think el Prado is just as great. The collection may be less extensive than the Louvre's, but I assure you your experience will be just as great - especially if you are into some of the old Spanish masters. Velasquez, Rubens, Goya, el Greco, and Bosch.
If you ever find yourself in Madrid, make sure you set enough time for this museum. They normally charge a small fee, but the museum is free in the evenings and for a few hours on the weekend too. If you can, try to schedule around those times and you won't have to pay the admission fee. But just a heads up - it gets very crowded during these hours.
We came on a weekend afternoon during the free hours and found that it was almost enough time to hit all most of the highlights. We were in a large group (like ten people) so getting everyone a glimpse at everything they wanted to see was a little difficult. If we had four or five people, we would have definitely had enough time. Anyway, we ended up coming back to see four paintings I had missed the first time - the Garden of Earthly Delights, the Second of May, the Third of May, and Las Meninas. I know! How could you come here and not see las Meninas? It's almost as bad as going to the Louvre and not seeing the Mona Lisa. Large group makes it a little tough. My advice would be to map out your route and figure out what you'd like to hit before hand. It makes a world of difference.
The Prado is a great museum. I always worry that these major museums are too big and you get overwhelmed by the size. When this happens, I think the art loses its punch. The Prado is a good balance of size and quality or art.
We went on a Sunday, just prior to the free time. The place was ours until the flood gates opened with the free patrons. It got very loud and crowded. If you want to really enjoy the art and experience, pay for the entry and void the free crowds.
Amazing! The museum has gorgeous Spanish works of art. I followed a tour with my fromers book and got the audio at the museum and it was just right :)
We found out they had free hours at the Prado on Tuesday nights, from 6-8, so we just made this a quick visit. Lots of classical art. If you go to see the Royal Palace, there is duplicates of the art that is there. Everything was beautiful, and it made it nice that we got to go in for free. A must see!
A classic museum in Spain and in the world. As a student of Spanish, I truly appreciated viewing the art by Spanish artists after studying them in my classes. A 1 day visit may not be enough to view all the masterpieces.
I think visits are free on Sundays, so line up early before it opens! The crowds line up around the museo!
Undoubtedly one of the finest Museums in the world if not the finest.
While its not a contest, I found the experience of going to the Prado far better than going to the Louvre in every way. The Museo del Prado is located in a beautiful building. The building as well as the gardens are impeccably kept and the galleries are extremely well organized.
The paintings are among the finest examples of European art and it even includes a picture of the "Mona Lisa" painted by one of Leonardo's disciples.
It is worth going to Madrid for just the purpose of visiting this place.
This museum was amazing, and easily my favorite of the three museums we visited (Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sofia) while in Madrid. If you only have time to visit one museum in Madrid, I would pick this one. The collection is extensive and we easily spent an entire afternoon enjoying the many works by the Spanish masters. Don't rush your visit here, plan to spend a generous amount of time so you can soak in both the art and architecture. Amazingly, it's also included in the Madrid card, so that made the card an even better deal to me!
The magnificent collection of Spanish art at the Prado probably affected me more than any other art museum I've visited. It's an incredible treasury of all the Spanish greats, most of whom seemed to have an incredible ability to both embrace their own individuality and subvert the established tropes of their times to create powerful and unique works. And Goya is just a creepy, awesome dude (to paraphrase your traditional art history textbooks).
The museum itself is not an incredible design, but this is one where the collection is so impressive I'll overlook a lot. Yes please!
El Museo del Prado is a beautiful world class museum that requires more than a few hours to see all of the works of El Greco, Velasquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, and Goya! These well-known artists created remarkable larger than life paintings (like Goya's Black period series) that will be admired by many more generations to come!
All of the paintings, drawings, and sculptures in this museum are breathtaking! The biggest surprise, a second Mona Lisa painting done by one of Leonardo da Vinci's assistants.
Even if you are not much into the arts, a visit to El Museo del Prado is a must when visiting Madrid.
Prado:Madrid :: Louvre: Paris. At least to me.
I could have spent probably the whole day in the Prado. I don't say that about very many museums. Don't get me wrong, I love museums and art & everything in between, but I'm probably the fastest museum viewer/visitor I know. I fell in love with Spain the moment my plane touched down at the airport. I didn't actually go to the Prado until much later in my trip. By the time I made it there, I had seen the Guggenheim (Love!), the Uffizi in Florence (Love!), The Louvre (Meh) among many others.
The Prado still sticks out as one of my favorites. I could get lost here & not even care. Just admiring the art and spending the day with myself would be enough for me.
It really is a world class museum. I've been to a lot of museums including other well known art museums and this one is fantastic. I spent 8-10 hours in here to see everything.
Even if you are not into art you MUST go during the last two hours they are open as it's free, and you'd be a fool not to go for free. In those limited two hours make sure you pick up an info packet telling you where all the well known masterpieces are located and hit them up... particularly the Goya's.
The Prado museum is one the the best art museums in the world. It is up there with the Louvre in Paris. As someone that frequents world class art museums, I can say that this place amazed me at the collection within.
The collection includes many Spanish artists such as Goya and Sorolla but also many many others as well. The many pieces are also well covered in both English and Spanish to illustrate what is being seen. They also have an audio guide, but honestly with how vast the museum is, the audio guide may slow you down from being able to see everything within a limited time.
The museum admission costs are 14€ standard and half that for students, seniors, etc. The real key though is the free hours, which are daily from 6-8 when they close. We planned our days to end around 5:30-6 near the museum to take advantage of the free hours each day. Even with this, I felt we were breezing through the museum and probably missed some interesting things. There is just so much too see in so limited of time.
OK, it has some really priceless great works of art but mostly of the old masters and then so many of them portrait paintings which were only created because of the lack of a decent digital camera. Looking at some of the lesser works, it's pretty obvious why mankind invested a fortune in the creation of photography.
The place is always crowded with very few places to sit, and where there is any seating, it was obviously made with the intention of being uncomfortable.
I've been here several times, even back in the early 70's and now again in 2013. I really do enjoy fine art, honestly I do, but as far as museums go I've always found Prado somewhat of a tedious bore of place and as far as museums go, if you discount the contents of it, rather over hyped.
Content wise, it's all of a solid four or five star, but generally as a museum to me, only Three Stars plus.
It's everything you heard, and more, but here's some tips: the brochure at the information desk makes life easy because it identifies the "masterpieces" so that if you want a greatest hits approach, you can easily follow what's on there. Second, the cafe is a lovely place for sitting when museum fatigue sets in - the cafe has small eats only (at big prices). The restaurant next door has full meals. Third, If you bought the three museum pass, do not stand in the ticket line. Go to the side entrance- you will be in the museum in seconds. Fourth, the best gift shop is the one by the cafe. Fifth, if you have time go off the beaten path, and see work not listed on the brochure. There is so much goodness here it's impossible to see it all, but wander through and let yourself be surprised when you stumble upon something you hadn't heard about, or when you see something stunning.
Most beautiful museum I've been to in Europe! I prefer it even to the Louvre, which is ridiculously crowded compared to the Prado.
Seeing as Madrid is not as much of a tourist city as Paris, the line was only a 5-10 minute wait, I received free entry because I'm a student. I really loved the Goya's and Rembrandt, Tiziano, Velasquez, etc. We spent close to four hours in there.
I definitely recommend this museum to any art lovers or people interested in art. Gorgeous!
It's no Louvre, but close.
Definitely worth your day,
More than Sofia.
I never understood why one museum has to have so many paintings in it. This place is pretty massive and there is room upon room of art with one door leading to another, then a chance to go out two or even three other doors. To me its just too big! I want to see as much as possible but it becomes so exhausting after a couple of hours yet you have to keep looking because you don't want to miss anything.
In the end I just decided what I wanted to see and did that. Yes, I got lost a couple of times as well. This place is worse than Ikea for wandering around aimlessly.
Still, lots of fantastic works of art are in the Prado yet I tend to favor smaller museums. By all means visit the Prado but avoid their terrible cafe (see my review for that place).
AN EVENING AT THE PRADO MUSEUM: 10.11.12
"But, but, but it's like going to Paris and not visiting the Louvre or going to Rome and not going to the Vatican!"
My travel agent was horrified when I told her that we might skip going to the Prado Museum during our trip to Madrid.
Okay, now that you put she put it that way. I just had to because I knew that I will definitely regret not making that 5 minute bus ride from our hotel.
And I love museums--certain ones like the American Museum of Natural History in New York where I literally spent a whole day there by myself. I love even our very own California Academy of Science. And when I went to Rome I HAD to visit the Vatican and was so moved that I shed a tear when I saw the Pieta. But I had no desire to visit the Museo del Prado.
I also did not want to torture my guy who is not into museums but will go just to please me. And honestly, after two hours at an old art museum, the paintings become a kaleidoscope of scary bleeding Christs enough to induce nightmares (and I went to Catholic schools all my life) , and a whirlwind of voluptuous Renaissance temptresses with muffin tops. (You know, I've always thought that I would have been "very hot" during the Renaissance where few extra pounds were considered to be the height of sexiness.....whatever.)
BUT THERE IS A WAY TO ENJOY MUSEO DEL PRADO FOR:
2) Under 2 hours.
It is possible to visit the museum for free. My guy and I took advantage of the free admission to the permanent collection from 6pm to 8pm, 2 hours before closing time.
There were still so many places and restaurants to visit in Madrid that we did not want to spend even half a day at a museum.
The last 2 hours were perfect! We arrived at 5:35 pm and the line was already very long. However, no need to get there so early since as soon as the gates open, everyone gets to get their tickets then proceed to the museum. The line moves very quickly. It was cold and drizzly when we got there and I had to pee so bad but I just had to wait. The free admission started ~15 minutes late instead of exactly 6pm.
SEE ALL THE MASTERPIECES IN 2 HOURS:
Here's the secret to seeing the world-renowned Rembrandt, Goya, Velasquez, El Greco, etc for free and "on the go" without feeling so overwhelmed
1. GRAB A FLOOR PLAN at the info desk as soon as you enter. The plan will show the masterpieces of the artists I mentioned above. This pamplet shows all the paintings that are worth seeing and where to find them. Here's an on-line version:
2. DECIDE which masterpieces you want to see.
3. PLAY TREASURE HUNT by following the map and find the artwork you want to see.
Our favorite is Rembrandt's "Judith at the banquet of Holofernes." My guy and I were tripping off of the painting's pearls worn by one of the models. They looked like real pearls that just jump at you but they were painted on! I also enjoyed Goya and El Greco's paintings as well as some that were not listed on the pamplet.
There you go! A crash course on Arts and Humanities in Madrid for free and for less than 2 hours! If you love art museums so much, go ahead and spend a day at the Prado. It is a museum worth-visiting.
I am glad that we went and I can say "been there, done that." Two hours were perfect and my guy and I truly had fun playing treasure hunt. We visited every wing of the museum and even had time to shop at the museum's gift shop.
I also love museums at night. It was not crowded. Despite the visitors there was a sense of peace.
The grounds of the Prado was beautiful but honestly, it cannot hold a candle to our very own Palace of the Legion of Honor where the architecture and location will take your breath away. Museo del Prado is old but not as spectacular as SF's Legion of Honor, IMHO. Collection-wise, though, Prado has amassed a collection of the world's who's who in the art world. They even have a version of Mona Lisa believed to have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci's student!
GOOD TO KNOW:
ADMISSION GUIDELINE: museodelprado.es/en/visi…
*General admission to the museum is12 € (with official guide is 22 €)
* Reduced: 6 € (65+, large families, youth card holder)
* Free: 0 € (under 18, unemployed citizens, students 18-25, physically disabled, etc)
From Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 8pm, and Sundays and holidays from 5pm to 7pm. November 19 and International Museum Day, during the full opening hours.
No photography allowed.
I'm not really one for museums, but I spent more time in here than any other museum I've ever been in... including in that group the Louvre, MOMA, the MET, etc. There are some fantastics works in here like Las Meninas and Goya's black paintings, and many many more. I highly recommend a visit if you're in Madrid.
I was on my own, (boyfriend was in a work conference), wandering around downtown Madrid after a bike tour and decided that this was the perfect opportunity to check out the Prado. The entrance fee was reasonable but I don't remember how much.
Everything was massive and I got lost a few times. Since I only had a few hours I used their English pamphlet and saw the great works of art they had listed. I checked my way through the list and saw so much in very little time.
It still confuses me why some museums allow photography, like the Louvre. Well, just so you know, NO PHOTOGRAPHS ALLOWED here. Too bad...
I truly loved this museum. It's massive and I powered through a sprained ankle to see 90% of it. Seeing so many masterpieces -- icons of art -- in one building is amazing and very strange.
The feel of the museum itself is great, but unfortunately the way they have the numbering set up for the rooms, it can get a little confusing. Nonetheless, they painted different rooms to give a specific "feel" for the pieces of art they housed.
Also, I recommend going to the cafe/restaurant as well, the food there was better than any museum food I've ever had.
You could spend hours here.
Another amazing experience to add to the memories of our trip to Spain.
The collection is vast and extensive - if you want to see the whole collection, plan to spend the entire day here.
With so many amazing works of art, it's really hard to pinpoint favorites. They have an extensive collection of Goya, Velazquez and Titian.
We even found the lunch we shared in their museum cafeteria to be quite tasty.
Really, do you need to look at a Yelp review to decide to visit one of the world's top museums?
No, just go...
I'd say about 80% of all galleries I've ever visited I've had a lukewarm reaction to. Staring at art and "pondering" its signficance can get mind-numbing from time to time, but I cannot overstate the importance and lasting effect the Prado has had on me. Merely 3 days before I had visited (and HATED) the Louvre. Too massive, too much to see, too many people. But the Prado is well laid out; the square footage of the building is something that can be comfortably covered in a couple hours. I did not feel rushed and there was enough to appreciate what I wanted before moving on. I highly recommend renting the audioguides; if you aren't on a tour and don't have the audioguide, you will miss out on some cute commentary.
The collection houses truly magnificent, historically important, and emotional works of art. Rubens, Goya, Tintoretto, and Fra Angelico have masterpieces in this collection, and are worth your time. My jaw has dropped in a few galleries (the Met, British Museum...) and the Prado. Enjoy.
I know this is "one of the best art collections in the world" but my friend and I did not have a good time here. I think that I am a failure to appreciate cultural significance, but seriously it was overwhelmingly boring.
About 60% of the art is portraits, 20% landscapes, 10% still life, and 10% sculpture. It's a hell of a collection from some of the best artists ever, but most of it comes from the 1500-1700's, so it's really just not that interesting to the untrained eye. I'll give it two stars (instead of one) out of simple respect. We both looked at each other, after an hour of briskly walking around desperately trying to find something we liked, and said "we need to leave." Maybe try the audio tour or there could be an iPhone app to enhance the experience by overlaying interesting art onto the portraits?
My friend nailed it, "I think art lovers say it's great because other art lovers say it's great and they don't want to sound unsophisticated."
I'm just not in love with portraits of rich people from the 1500's - I need something more thought provoking. The marble tables dispersed throughout the museum are cool though. If those were for sale at the gift shop, I'd buy one.
Museo del Prado is worth the hype. It's a massive expanse of galleries from some of the best artists throughout history, mainly Spaniards. You'll see showcases that will blow your mind and expand your knowledge of already famous artists(I personally loved El Greco's paintings much more than I realized I would.)
Normal admission is worth it, however, there are plenty of ways to get discounts(student, age, etc) but if you're cheap like me, you can go weekdays from 5-7 for free and see all the beautiful paintings and sculptures your heart desires!
The Spaniards were really ahead of their time in the visual arts, and Museo del Prado is a testament to the genius of Velazquez, Greco, Goya and Co. Don't even think about snapping your own photo, but enjoy free evening admission to the permanent collection! Not ridiculously huge like the Louvre, Hermitage or Met, and easily enjoyed in an afternoon.
This is the museum to visit in Madrid if you only have time for one.
When you step back and think, it's breathtaking in magnitude.
Look a bit past that and unless you are an art lover and passionate about these things, it's not as impressive to the fast paced culture that many live in now. It probably takes time to appreciate these paintings fully.
If you're a tourist who tries to see too many things on a trip then this place would not allow you to see its full benefit. Doesn't mean it's not worth going but it's a thought.
I'm not artsy fartsy so to say I could appreciate it all would be false, but as a tourist and looking at the place as a whole for the experience then it's a good museum.
It's not my type of museum but I'd still recommend it to anyone who visits Madrid as a must see museum, if only for the cache.
Visited the Prado in Madrid in Spring 2011. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and well worth the visit. We were only in Madrid for about 12 hours, so we decided to do everything we possibly could in the little time had there, and the Prado was definitely a "must see".
It was a lot to take in at first, but bit by bit I sank into all of the artwork and was well, in awe. My feet hurt from walking all day, but I still enjoyed myself. After visiting the Prado we lay on the cool green grass and rested...it was great and I'd visit again!!
London national gallery, Louvre, Musee D'Orsay, Uffizi, New York Met....just to name a few of the museums I have fallen in love with in my travels. I came to this museum with little expectations, mainly because I hadn't done much research other than to know it was short walk from my hotel. I really, truly, positively loved this museum. The set up is easy enough that I was able to systematically see every room. Which may not seem like a big deal, but after surviving another flustering trip to the Louvre, where the map seems to be 4 dimensional, it felt like big accomplishment.
The gift shop had some great clearance (which will pull me to it no matter what country I am in) where I got a few different 11x14 prints for 2 euro each. And the cafe had a killer cappuccino which I sipped for a half hour while people watching. I can't imagine visiting this city without coming here.
Gosh, what can I say that hasn't already been said? Well, the Prado opened in 1819 with the sole aim of proving to the rest of Europe that Spanish art was of equal merit to any other national school. It houses the works of Valazquez, Goya, El Greco, and Picasso, but also includes other European artists like Titian, Bosch, Rubens, Fra Angelico, and Raphael. The pieces range in date from 12th century Romanesque to the 19th century.
My cousin and I decided to buy the 3-museum pass (paseo del arte or art walk) that includes the Prado, Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen Bornemisza. The pass was about €21 for entry into all three museums. We opted to do the Prado first since it was the largest of the three. It was perfect to spend the day inside on a rainy day. We walked around the entire museum and made sure to check out some of the most famous pieces: Valazquez's Las Meninas, Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights, and Rubens's Judgment of Paris.
I love walking around museums and looking at all the glorious works. Not particularly artsy myself, I appreciate the works of others and the history behind the pieces. It's not very often that I get to be immersed in art originating from centuries ago in that very country so it was cool to check it out. I really loved seeing Las Meninas in person, particularly after seeing Picasso's obsession over the piece as evidenced by his room of Las Meninas cubists works. He had a room in his museum full of multiple pieces dedicated to Valazquez's single painting. Amazing. The museum is free from 6pm - 8pm Tuesday thru Saturday and 5pm - 8pm on Sunday. Closed Mondays.
Not my favorite time.
And wouldn't be yours either unless you really, really, really like old religious art. I fancy myself more of a modernist, cubist, surrealist fan - different strokes for different folks, y'all - and the Prado's endless halls of holy oil pieces started quickly blending into one seamless mass of breasts, fire, brimstone and genitalia.
There was a serious lack of diversity in style here and I ended up, quite frankly, quickly feeling pretty bored. There's also no photography allowed here (not even without a flash) and don't even try, the Nikon Nazi's will find you.
A pass on my Madrid list. Lo siento.
I honestly didn't know what to expect when heading to Museo del Prado. I was told this was a must-see, but I didn't know what I was in for.
I forget what the entry fee is, but we decided to wait for the free hours between 6-8PM to check out the museum. Be sure to get there early because lines start forming before 5PM and can get quite long wrapping around the side of the museum.
We got into line around 5:15PM and were into the museum by 6:10PM. First thing we did was head for the audioguides because I wanted to make sure we knew what we were looking at. I also enjoy descriptions of what I'm looking at, and getting a little bit of the history or techniques behind the pieces.
If you don't care too much for sculptures, don't head in the direction behind the audioguides. I felt like we wasted a bit of time going to those pieces, and I would have rather spent all my time in the main museum hall area.
As we didn't have much time in the museum, we focused on the masterpieces (listed on the back of the map) and made sure we saw each of those. Two hours isn't enough time to take EVERYthing in, but we made good use of our time. For the pieces we were more interested in, we sat and listened to the audioguides to fully take everything in.
The museum is HUGE and it was a little exhausting walking through the whole thing, at the speed we were going. I was thankful to see little benches here and there, and definitely took a quick break while listening to the audioguides.
You could have gone through the museum without the audioguide, but I have to say that I enjoyed learning more than what the description provided for each piece. It was inspiring to see these beautiful works by amazing artists.
I am telling you, this is a must-see for anyone visiting Madrid!
You have wonderful art - El Greco, Goya, Velasquez, etc.
But why so few benches?
Don't you want people to sit and ponder and admire the art? Or do you want them to just keep moving and exit through the gift shop?
If I ever come back to Madrid, it will be to spend more time looking at your pictures. But can I bring my own portable chair next time?
(Prado's website apparently forbids "The use of folding seats or any other type of seat within the galleries without authorisation." Hm. Not that friendly.)
I loved that this is a world-known museum and was so easy to see in that it wasn't super crowded. They also had a semi-map with "must see" paintings on the back. There was just so much to see that we were overwhelmed after a few hours, but I feel like we saw a large portion of the museum.
It's super easy to purchase tickets from the kiosks outside if you don't want to wait in the line.
The Museo del Prado has a tremendous amount of artwork (paintings).
NOTE: It's free at 5PM on Sundays (closes at 7PM). Make sure to get there early. We randomly went at 4:30PM, saw a massive line, and it ended up being the "Free" line. There are a ton of paintings to observe, more than your mind can even handle.
-1 star as it gets insanely crowded to the point where you are pushing into people wherever you walk. I would recommend going to this museum if you can only choose one or two to view.
This is one of the "go to" museums when you are in Madrid.
Tip: Visit this place during the free admissions time which is Monday through Saturday from 6pm to 8pm, and Sunday from 5pm to 7pm.
There were lots of artwork throughout this museum. I didn't care for the artwork since I enjoy more contemporary art. Plus, the paintings were repetitive.
If you have a large backpack or purse, you need to check it in the coat area.
Wowowowowo! I needed a few days to go through here. My travel companions and I, while not art majors appreciate fine art.
When scheduling your trip give yourself at least one full day to take in the works of your favorite artists. Plan that out before hand too if you are intent on seeing these amazing pieces of work.
It is absolutely breathtaking to see the original works of some of history's great artists like Goya, Velasquez, El Greco, Raphael, Ruben....
Between the Prado and the Reina Sophia I was blown away. One of the many highlights of my trip to Madrid.
If I lived in Madrid, I would come to the Prado multiple times to take it all in slowly. Because it was pretty overwhelming. Magnificent in size and history, it could take months to fully appreciate the classical works housed here.
We did a very quick run through of the museum during our very short two-day stay in Madrid. In hindsight, it would have been better to do my homework before my visit.
A word of advice - buy your tickets online to avoid the lines and make sure your paper ticket has the bar code for scanning. If you miss the museum, you can use the ticket next day. Just don't tell!
Seeing Velasquez's Las meninas in person, after looking at it so much over the years in books, was completely amazing. I can completely understand why it's considered to be one of the best paintings ever. I also then liked looking at the tons of Picasso, Dali and others takes on it here and at different museums around Spain.
I don't think I got the full effect of the Prado, because we came here immediately off of a flight from LA because we couldn't get into our room, and about half way through our visit, Marco said I looked like I was on drugs. I guess I was pretty %^#ed up, but whatever.
I also love Goya, but I think that the sketches I loved best were somewhere else, not here. It did have the 2 y 3 de mayo paintings, which I think I read were based on a massacre that went on at Puerta del sol!
Anyhow, don't miss the Prado when you're in Madrid (like you would).
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