The Community of Madrid has confirmed that the work that could be an original painting by Caravaggio already has the precautionary and provisional protection of Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) since last Friday, May 9, when the procedure was initiated by resolution of the General Director of Cultural Heritage and the Sala Ansorena was notified.
As confirmed by a report to which Europa Press has had access, it is a protection precautionary and provisional until the end of the procedure and the declaration as BIC, at which time the protection regime will be final.
They have also explained that protection as BIC “is the highest in the field of protection of historical heritage” and implies that the owners are obliged to properly conserve the work. In addition, they must request authorization from the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage for any intervention they wish to carry out on it, such as restorations.
For their part, the Public Administrations have the right of first refusal and of withdrawal in the event that the owner puts the cultural asset up for sale. Therefore, this Monday the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage has asked the Ansorena room to report on the owner of the work and to communicate a date to make a visit to analyze the painting in person.
Last Friday it was sent for publication in the Official Gazette of the Community of Madrid (BOCM), and the publication of the initiation resolution is expected on Wednesday the 13th or Thursday the 14th of April.
Once it is made official in the BOCM, the file will undergo a public information period for a period of one month counting from the publication, in which an audience will be given to the town hall, the interested parties and the Regional Council for Historical Heritage. Likewise, a report will be requested from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, which must issue it within one month of the request.
During the month of April, the visit is planned to carry out a face-to-face analysis of the work and, from the Community of Madrid, the Prado Museum to designate a qualified technical staff to participate in this face-to-face visit.
For its part, the General Directorate of the Community of Madrid will analyze all reports, answer any possible allegations that are registered and prepare the declaration resolution. This must be approved by the Governing Council of the Community of Madrid within a maximum period of nine months from the publication of the initiation of the file.
The Ansorena gallery withdrew last Wednesday, April 7, a work that represents a scene of Christ as an ‘ecce homo’ and that was scheduled to went on sale for a price of 1,500 euros. The reason is that the work, which was attributed to a painter in José de Ribera’s workshop, could be an original by Caravaggio.
The Minister of Culture and Sports, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, backed his department’s decision to withdraw the work from a Spanish auction. In addition, he asked the Community of Madrid to declare the work of Cultural Interest (BIC) so that “with this double guarantee it is ensured that the painting can stay in Spain and things are done well.”