‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ to Remain at Prado After Bitter Two-Year Fight

A new museum of the royal collection had petitioned to get the paintings.

Four iconic paintings by Hieronymus Bosch and other Old Masters will remain at Madrid’s Prado Museum after a protracted battle with a new national museum.

The Prado took in 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 owns the work.

Roger van der Weyden's The Descent from the Cross (c. 1435) Photo: Courtesy Museo del Prado

Roger van der Weyden’s The Descent from the Cross (c. 1435).
Photo: Courtesy Museo del Prado.

The painting has come to be among the most revered in the Prado’s collection, along with 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), which are also part of the loan. They were previously in residence at the royal San Lorenzo de El Escorial monastery.

But then came the 2014 announcement of the founding of the Museo de las Colecciones Reales, a new museum for the Spanish Royal Collection set to open in 2016. The president of the country’s national heritage authority, José Rodríguez-Spiteri Palazuelo, requested that the museum return the four paintings.

When the Prado resisted, 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 in 2014, and previously served on the Prado Museum’s board of directors.


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