Canary Islands is the Atlantic window to the Prado Museum collection. A total of 101 works of the national pinacoteca funds are in deposit in different centers, museums and institutions, the result of a ministerial order of 1940 by which "the deposit of the Prado was made available for the formation of museums of Fine Arts, in addition to another series of works from the so-called seizure boards, which is the board that gathered all the works that the Prado guarded during the Civil War, "explains Elena Acosta, director of the Casa de Colón. The Americanist center of Vegueta currently has 14 pieces of the deposits of the Museo del Prado, and for a series of circumstances that are detailed in this report, is the center that has cultivated and strengthened the relationship of the Prado with the Canary Islands.
The Prado Museum currently has a hundred works deposited in the archipelago: 41 in the province of Las Palmas, all in Gran Canaria; and another 60 in Tenerife. At 14 that houses the Casa de Colón are added the other 24 custody of the City of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, located in the Consistorial Houses mostly and in other municipal facilities; and the three works located in the Casa Regental, in the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands (TSJC). The bulk of the 60 works on deposit in Tenerife are in the Municipal Museum of Fine Arts of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, with 42 of them; IES Cabrera Pinto, in La Laguna, with 10; and the City Council of La Orotava, which guards the remaining 8.
Jewelry signed by Tiziano, Carraci, Guercino, Meléndez, Ribera or Murillo, have a seat in the Casa de Colón, while under the tutelage of the City Council there are works by Arellano, Esteban Villanueva and Vinarao or Bernardo Morales Soriano. In the TJSC, canvases of Primitivo Álvarez Armesto, Manuel Picolo López and José Pueyo Matanza.
"The policy of deposits is fundamental for the Canary Islands", Elena Acosta, because not only the funds and the collection of spaces like this are enriched, but it favors the access to the public, saving the insular remoteness, to a part of the history of art whose large containers, in this case, are more than 2,000 kilometers away. The collaboration maintained for decades from the Islands with the Prado takes on special significance in 2019 to commemorate the bicentennial of the art gallery, which opened its doors as a Royal Museum on November 19, 1819. On the one hand, the Canary Islands and the deposits of the Prado on the Islands are present at the exhibition Prado Museum 1819-2019. A place of memory, inaugurated on November 19 and open to the public until March 10.
An exhibition project under the curatorship of Javier Portús, Chief of Conservation of Spanish Painting (until 1700) of the Prado Museum, in which the visitor is offered "a chronological journey through the evolution of the museum, which is a criterion that allows highlighting that has a living institution and especially permeable to the historical swings of the country ", according to Portús. The dialogue of the Prado Museum with the public and with other art centers, the organization and growth of its collections and how its pedagogical aspect has been shaped, has much to do with the Islands, and the "special sensitivity" of the institution that currently he directs Miguel Falomir, according to Elena Acosta.
In addition and within the events of the bicentennial, the Prado Museum has chosen the Atlantic Center of Modern Art (CAAM) to exhibit, between June 4 and 30, one of the masterpieces of his collection, specifically the piece Blind man playing the hurdy-gurdy, by the French painter Georges Le Tour. A temporary assignment to the CAAM resulting from the project Touring Spain that puts a dozen "masterpieces" of the Prado collection in roaming by different art centers and Spanish cultural institutions. The canvas in question, baroque oil that dates from 1620-1630, as highlighted by the CAAM is "one of the few creations of Le Tour that the Prado Museum has preserved since 1991."
"It's a gift for CAAM," explains its director Orlando Britto, and that implements the 2019 program along with two other significant milestones on the horizon: the 30th anniversary of the creation of the CAAM and the centenary of the birth of César Manrique. The director of the Prado, Miguel Falomir, will be transferred to the capital of Gran Canaria on the occasion of the Le Tour loan, and different parallel activities on the French artist and his work have been planned. Among them, a conference by Miguel Falomir.
"This helps us a lot and opens a possible way of collaboration for the future Museum of Fine Arts," says Orlando Britto. An assertion shared by Elena Acosta, while at the same time she emphasizes the role that Casa de Colón has played in relations with the Prado and access to its funds. "The Casa de Colón if it has a permanent exhibition with part of the works in deposit, and with the Museum of Fine Arts – the Cabildo plans to complete the works of the first phase of the project next May – could be within reach of the Island a window into the history of art, Spanish and Italian, it is an opportunity that is offered to citizens. "
The initial deposit received by the Casa de Colón, following the aforementioned ministerial order of 1940, included a lot of 21 works from the Prado Museum and another 39 from the seizure meeting. The latter, which is given a period of 30 years to claim their property, were transferred in their day to the Civil Government and the seat of the Cabildo, and after the opening of the Casa de Colón in 1951, and "as this was going to Being a Museum of Fine Arts, the collection came here. "
The Prado, for expository and other reasons, has been lifting the works in deposit in Gran Canaria and Tenerife in the last decades because "in a warehouse the owner is the owner", Elena Acosta points out. Among the pieces that El Prado has been removing, it is worth mentioning oil paintings by Meléndez, Luis Morales, Aniello Falcone, all in the 80s; Paolo Cagliari, in 1997; and Guido Reni and José de Ribera, both in 2012. The episode of this Ribera, a St Geronimo typing attributed to Esteban March, it was an extraordinary event, and marked a before and an after in the relations between the Prado and the Casa de Colón.
The authorship of the work was wrong. "We had a Ribera from the first period and we did not know it, and the circumstance occurred that the Prado did not have an oil painting from the first years". It was discovered by an expert who passed through the Casa de Colón and alerted the center that the piece that had been in storage since 1940 was a highly prized primitive Ribera. The Vegueta Museum saw how the painting became part of the permanent collection of the Prado, and compensation was requested. "Our request was heard, and another Ribera, the San Andres which is in the permanent exhibition. "
All these works owned by the Museo del Prado are protagonists of informative and periodic actions of the Casa de Colón, as Looks at the collection, because although these funds have been on the Island since 1940, "people do not know".