The Prado stopped earning 25.2 million euros in 2020

The blow has been greater than was believed. In November 2020, the management of the Prado Museum assured that the museum would stop earning 19 million euros in the year of the health crisis. The accounts that the institution has just published in its annual report indicate that the loss in own income rose to 25.2 million euros, according to the president of the Board, Javier Solana, and the director of the museum, Miguel Falomir. This represents a collapse of 75.5%, going from 33.3 million euros in 2019 to 8.1 million euros, "weighed down by the drop in ticket sales," they indicate. The amount collected at the box office was 3.7 million euros (80% less than expected). Until now, its own income was the museum's main source of financing and had guaranteed 70% self-financing.

The box office had marked a historical income in 2019, but during the year of the pandemic the game was reduced by 84% and the fall in sales of the products generated by the Sociedad Mercantil Prado Difusión decreased by 90% in relation to the year previous (only entered 204,663 euros). The audio guide service hardly contributed to the accounts, with 117,000 euros (almost 80% less than expected). The sponsorship was 3.8 million euros (less than half of the usual). The closure between March 12 and June 6 and the limited capacity to less than 1,700 people left in the most important cultural institution in the country a negative equity result of 16 million euros compared to the one obtained in 2019 (6.3 million euros). euros), representing a loss of 22.3 million euros. "The Prado Museum has seen the remaining treasury diminish in the amount of 18,499,031 euros to make possible the assumption of the expenses derived from the maintenance of the structural activity", indicates the report. At the beginning of the year 2021, there were 7,337,478 euros in the Prado box.

The loss of 25.2 million euros even exceeds the heading of chapter one, which includes payroll and social security expenses of public employees and which amounts to 22.4 million euros. In 2019, the center reached 27.4 million euros in its own income and, before the health crisis, it expected to achieve 29 million euros in its own income in 2020 (the drop is even greater if we compare the forecast with the final result). To compensate for the collapse in income, the management turned to the 2019 treasury balance that amounted to close to 20 million euros, thanks to the excellent campaign harvested in the bicentennial year. A part of that amount was committed by the management, before the health crisis, for the reforms of the Hall of Kingdoms, whose reopening was scheduled for 2024.

Investment "insufficient"

The report is especially critical of the State's contribution, which it describes as "insufficient." The € 15.2 million item was a slightly lower figure than in 2019 (5.7% less) and, as indicated by the museum, “it only covered 73.1% of the estimated expenses. of personal". They also indicate from the management that "a firm policy of cost containment" has been maintained, however the initial budget was 49.7 million euros and the account ended at 54.2 million euros. As if that were not enough, the Prado had to urgently enter 4.3 million euros from its treasury into the Public Treasury - like the rest of the institutions by royal decree signed by the Minister of Finance - in order to meet the expenses for combat the health crisis caused by COVID-19.

"The aforementioned economic indicators show the economic effects on the Prado Museum of the serious situation that the country has experienced in fiscal year 2020, with the organization currently at the beginning of a process of economic recovery that it will put it back on the path set by the results of previous years. ”Despite this dramatic situation, the museum has not made public any plan to contain the economic crisis it is facing, such as it did happen in the previous financial crisis. This Saturday he announced the opening of the rooms that remained closed, such as the Delfin treasure and those dedicated to Flemish painting.

The pandemic at the box office

The Prado received a total of 852,161 visits, which represents a decrease of 73.4% (in 2019 there were 3,203,417). The day with the least influx of 2020 was October 5, which received 664 people. And the day with the most people in the rooms was on January 2, with 15,989, before the pandemic. As usual, 54.5% of the public accessed with free admission. As the report indicates, the majority of the public is female, with 61.9%. The average profile was mostly young, 44.5% were between 18 and 34 years old.

In this chapter, the modification of provenance by nationality was very striking. The majority were Spanish (66.91%, the normal is 40%). "Almost half of all the influx of 2020 are inhabitants of the Community of Madrid (47.08%), who have experienced an increase of almost twenty-five points with respect to 2019 (22.29%)", can be read in the report due to border closures and confinements around the world Last year 5,723 visitors accredited a disability during their visit, 0.6% of all visitors.

The museum made an outstanding effort to communicate its collections digitally and, for example, the most successful publication on Facebook was the video "Museo Del Prado and flamenco come together for World Tourism Day", on September 27, with 2.1 million views and 37,000 likes. The highlight on Twitter was the Periscope (the video platform) of the closing of the museum's doors due to the pandemic, on March 11. It had 90,000 views. The most successful video on this social network was also “Museo del Prado y flamenco”, with 433,000 views. On Instagram they made 220 live videos. The most prominent publication was the direct “Rubens, Veronés and Poussin with Alejandro Vergara”, with 181,000 reproductions and more than 1,300 comments, on March 13.

The female absence

In the chapter on acquisitions, the Prado Museum maintains an acquisition policy that focuses on artists and forgets about female artists. Throughout 2020, two paintings were purchased: "The Communards Padilla, Bravo and Maldonado on the scaffold" (1862), by Antonio Gisbert (bought from a collector), and a "Holy Family of the Oak (copy of the one by Giulio Romano that The museum has) ”(1821), by Luis Eusebi (bought from Ansorena Auctions). In addition, there were three assignments thanks to money from the Ministry of Culture: “Felipe V on horseback (a sketch)” (1723), by Jean Ranc (bought from Durán Subastas); a copy of Velázquez, from the 18th century (bought from Sotheby's); a "Male Nude" (1759), by Domingo Álvarez Enciso (bought from Caylus Anticuarios).

Also an album of English Prints (1766-1784) by Queen María Cristina de Borbón Dos-Sicilias, with engravings by 14 artists, including the only female artist who entered the collections, Caroline Watson. In addition, the memory indicates that the incorporation of this album implies "the sum of new works starring or performed by women." The museum refers to the fact that among the prints there is a portrait of the artist Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807) and the aforementioned print by Watson. This is the support of the Prado Museum that the director, Miguel Falomir, announced to cover the lack of female artistic representation.


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