Madrid’s Royal Collections settles dispute with Prado museum

Four Old Master paintings, including Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, to remain on view

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Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights (1500-05). Photo: Museo Nacional del Prado

Spain’s National Heritage office and the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid have come to an agreement over four important Old Master works that were the subject of an ownership dispute.

Last month, we reported that National Heritage officials backed off a bid to transfer the paintings—Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights (1500-05) and Table of the Mortal Sins (around 1480); Tintoretto’s The Foot Washing (1548-49); and Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross (around 1435)—to a €160m museum due to open in Madrid by 2017 to house the Royal Collections.

Earlier today (16 December), the president of National Heritage (Patrimonio Nacional), Don Alfredo Pérez de Armiñán, and the president of the royal board of trustees of the Museo del Prado, Don José Pedro Pérez-Llorca, signed the agreement at the Palacio Real de Madrid.

The four Old Master paintings were originally removed from the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War and given to the Prado by the government for safekeeping.

“According to this agreement, the Prado will definitely keep on display the four works previously in the Monastery of El Escorial which were deposited at the museum in 1936, as subsequently confirmed in the corresponding decree and act of 1943,” says an official statement.

The new Royal Collections museum will not house a permanent collection. Instead, works will be drawn from 19 palaces for a series of temporary exhibitions.

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