The Prado National Museum has presented the exhibition ‘The legacy of Carmen Sánchez. The last lesson ‘, which includes fifteen paintings acquired for 779,177 euros thanks to the legacy of the benefactress, who died in 2016 at the age of 86.
This selection has made it possible to incorporate new artists into the collections and thus fill some of the museum’s “historical gaps”. Among them are the ‘Allegory of Temperance’, by Alonso Berruguete, a work from the Italian period by its author; ‘Saint Francis kneeling in meditation’, by Mariana de la Cueva; wave ‘Virgen del Carmen imposing the scapular on Saint Simon Stock’by Gabriel Antonio Corvoysier.
“Here they spend very happy days seeing wonderful paintings, but also when they see Spaniards who love the museum and love it so much that they leave their legacy so that the museum tries to buy the best it can,” said the president of the Royal Board of the Prado National Museum, Javier Solana, during the presentation of the exhibition.
For Solana, Carmen Sánchez was a person “smart” and “extraordinary” which also contributed to “improving teaching” in Spain. “There are many good people in our country and we love being able to recognize them publicly at the Prado Museum,” he celebrated.
The legacy of Carmen Sánchez has made it possible to enrich the presence of painters already represented in the Prado with new paintings, mostly unpublished, like the ‘Portrait of a Gentleman’ by Adriaen Thomasz Key; or the ‘Self-portrait’ by Pedro Campaña, which constitute a notable contribution to the collections of the 16th century.
For his part, ‘The Stigmatization of Saint Francis’ by José del Castillo, one of the author’s few religious works, allows us to better study the influence of Antón Rafael Mengs in the Madrid school of the 18th century.
Furthermore, the history painting has included works such as ‘Los Comuneros Padilla, Bravo y Maldonado en el gallop’, by Antonio Gisbert, a replica of the one preserved in the Congress of Deputies; or the works of Eduardo Rosales ‘Doña Blanca de Navarra delivered to the capital of Buch’ and the ‘Reina doña Juana in the adarves of the castle of La Mota’.
The selection also includes the painting ‘Giuseppe Maria Ferdinando Dal Pozzo’, by José Aparicio; and the ‘Holy Family of the Oak’, by Luis Eusebi, one of the first known copies of a Prado painting after its inauguration in 1819.
Finally, the landscape painting of the 19th century is enriched with ‘Neapolitan landscape’, which condenses many of the searches that occupied Mariano Fortuny during his summer stay in Portici (Naples).
Friend of the museum
This exhibition wants to serve as a tribute to Carmen Sánchez (1929-2016), who dedicated herself professionally to teaching and belonged to the Fundación Amigos Museo del Prado since 2003. Her legacy makes her one of the most outstanding patrons in the museum’s history.
Carmen Sánchez was born into a bourgeois family from Madrid, in Béjar (Salamanca). She was linked from the beginning of her professional career to Colegio Nervión, of which she would be director for several decades and where she worked as a teacher until she retired at the age of 70, in 1999.
“It is an important day for the museum and for Spanish civil society. The museum has to give back to Carmen Sánchez part of her extraordinary generosity. She was a friend of the Prado Museum and who loved it so much as to make it the recipient of its assets,” she said the director of the institution, Miguel Falomir.
The total of Carmen Sánchez’s legacy amounted to 758,646.18 euros, so to complete the total amount of the acquisitions (77,177.10 euros) the Prado Museum has contributed with its own funds a total of 20,530.92 euros.
To fulfill the desire expressed by Sánchez in his will, the museum has made use of different modes of acquisition. Thus, Falomir has explained that the works have been acquired both in Spain and abroad, through direct purchase from the owners or its acquisition at public auction.
“An attempt was made to cover the chronological or geographical spectrum of the Prado Museum, so there are Spanish paintings but also Flemish, French and a Berruguete painted in his Italian time,” said Falomir, who has assured that most of the works “They will always remain in the museum.”
For his part, the technician of the Museum of the Area of Painting of the XIX century and curator of the exhibition, Pedro J. Martinez, He pointed out that this selection is dedicated to “celebrating the generosity” of Carmen Sánchez, who has made this “gift” available to the public, “the true recipient”.
Disappearance of two works
At the end of the act, Manuel Uriarte, Sánchez’s great nephew, has denounced that after the death of his aunt “very important works of art disappeared.” Specifically, he has ensured that two works disappeared from his house, one by Alberto Sánchez and the other by Emiliano Barral.
“Inside this light there is a bit of shadow, it is a pity that a person who put your trust in certain people these pieces have disappeared. It’s a shame for Spain, for the Prado and it has hurt me a lot, “lamented Carmen Sánchez’s great-nephew.