After a long and drawn out battle with a new national museum; four iconic paintings by Hieronymus Bosch and other Old Masters will remain at Madrid’s Prado. The Prado accepted Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (1500–1505) for safekeeping in 1936, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War at the request of the royal collection, which owned the important piece.
Bosch’s The Seven Deadly Sins (1500-1525), Tintoretto’s Washing of the Feet (1548), and Rogier van der Weyden’s The Descent from the Cross (c. 1435), were also part of the loan; but ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ has come to be among the most revered in the Prado’s collection. All of these works were previously in residence at the royal San Lorenzo de El Escorial monastery.
But then came an announcement in 2014 of the founding of the Museo de las Colecciones Reales, a new museum for the Spanish Royal Collection set to open next year. The president of the country’s national heritage authority, José Rodríguez-Spiteri Palazuelo, requested that the museum return the four works by Bosch.
When the Prado refused the request, Spiteri resigned from his post. José Pedro Pérez-Llorca, the president of the board of the Prado, attributed the agreement to the appointment of a new leader of the heritage agency, Alfredo Pérez de Armiñán, according to the New York Times. Armiñán was appointed UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture last year, after previously serving on the Prado Museum’s board of directors.
Image: Hieronymus Bosch The Garden of Earthly Delights (1503-04) Courtesy of Wikipedia.