Museums Spain

Do the Prado’s Old Masters belong in the Royal Collection?

A row over paintings could be brewing as Spain’s National Heritage office plans a new museum

Hieronymus Bosch’s well-known triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1500-05 in on "temporary deposit" at the Prado

A silent row could brewing between Spain’s National Heritage office and El Museo del Prado in Madrid. According to the Spanish newspaper El Confidential, the Prado’s director, Miguel Zugaza, received a letter from the president of the National Heritage office, José Rodríguez-Spiteri Palazuelo, asking for the return of four old master paintings, including Hieronymus Bosch’s well-known triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1500-05.

The major works have been under the care of the Prado since the late 1930s, when they were moved there for safekeeping during Spain’s Civil War. The oldest among them is the eight-foot-wide painting Descent from the Cross, around 1435, by the Dutch Northern Renaissance artist Rogier van der Weyden. That work, and two by Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, and The Table of the Mortal Sins, late 15th century, have reportedly been requested alongside Tintoretto’s The Foot Washing, 1548-49.

When reached by The Art Newspaper, the National Heritage office declined to comment and the Prado denies receiving the letter. But the four works are highlighted as masterpieces of the Royal Collection on the new National Heritage website, launched earlier this year. The site lists them as on “temporary deposit at the Museo Nacional del Prado”.

The claim on the works comes as the National Heritage office plans a new museum to house the Royal Collections, due to open in 2016 in Madrid under the direction of José Luis Díez. El Confidential also reports that relations between the two institutions are frozen for the time being, with the National Heritage office recently rejecting a loan request from the Prado for its upcoming exhibition “Bernini and Spain” scheduled to open on 21 October.

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12 Aug 14
17:32 CET


There is such a wealth at the Prado and if they were on"loan" the repatriation should be considered.However when in Madrid i personally would be bereft if i could not anticipate walking into that room and seeing the "Descent" in exactly the location i remember it,turning to the left and the rush of homage to a great work one sees at eye level ..also the non resident may not have the time to visit 2 Museums and they would miss out on a lifetime MUST SEE painting if it was removed from the Prado...please negotiate to keep it where it has lain all these years....

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