Enfilade

Exhibition | Festivities and Entertainment at Court

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 1, 2016

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Slodtz Brothers, Stage backdrop, Temple of Minerva, Olympia version, Fontainebleau, 1754.

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Press release for the exhibition:

Festivities and Entertainment at Court / Fêtes et divertissements à la Cour
Château de Versailles, 29 November 2016 — 26 March 2017

Curated by Béatrix Saule, Élisabeth Caude, and Jérôme de La Gorce

As a political monarch, King Louis XIV took ‘grand entertainment’ to the height of magnificence, making Versailles a venue for monumental, extraordinary, and fantastical parties and shows. The king had a shrewd understanding of the human mind and understood that “this society of pleasure, which gives members of the Court an honest familiarity with [the sovereign], and touches and charms them more than can be said,” was necessary for the political framework he had built (Louis XIV, Memoirs for the Instruction of the Dauphin, 1661). Everyday life in Court required multiple forms of entertainment, and extraordinary royal events needed to surprise and enthrall the court, the kingdom—all of Europe. Each of his successors maintained the tradition of splendid, creative shows in their own way, according to their own tastes and the fashions of the time.

affiche-fetes-et-divertissements-a-la-cour_blockx2This exhibition presents the infinite variety and ingenuity of entertainment in the court, whether put on by the king or enjoyed by the court. These included all forms of public shows, comedies, operas, concerts, fireworks, and light displays, as well as private performances in which Seigneurs and Ladies of the court went on stage themselves. The was a large amount of gambling, leading to fortune or ruin, as well as physical activities in which members of the court had to shine, including hunting, dancing in balls and masked balls, pallmall, and real tennis.

Spanning three reigns, from Louis XIV to the Revolution, the exhibition does not aim to be exhaustive but focuses on the courtier’s point of view. A large selection of clothing, paintings, objects, and graphics from French and foreign public and private collections convey the wide range of entertainment and the refinement associated with them. The objects are accompanied by large visuals, 3D images, and immersive scenes that invite visitors to rediscover the atmosphere in the venues—some of which no longer exist—and imagine what it would be like to be in the king’s court.

Section 1: Hunting

Versailles was initially built as a hunting lodge, and the sport always remained the most popular form of royal entertainment. All three kings partook in the activity several times a week, but Louis XV was the most enthusiastic adherent. He enjoyed hunting with weapons but was especially fond of hunting with dogs. To accompany the king on a hunting trip, courtiers had to fully master the customs of hunting with hounds or to share the sovereign’s passion and thus gain his favour. Hunting was also a means of relaxation; the speed and open air were a way to escape from the constraints of court life.

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Pierre Gobert, Portrait of Marie Adélaïde of Savoy, Duchess of Burgundy in Her Hunting Attire, 1704 (RMN-GP / Château de Versailles).

Themes
• The hunting ritual: moments, participants, personnel, clothing, and equipment
• The game, horses, and especially the importance of hounds
• Courteousness: the role of the ladies and the pleasure of picnics

Section 2: The Last Carousels

Carousels were another equestrian pleasure, replacing the tournaments that were banned after the death of Henry II. The last carousels were held at Versailles in 1664 during the Delights of the Enchanted Island party and in 1685 and 1686 in the Great Stables at the initiative of the Grand Dauphin.

This equestrian ballet was doomed to fade out, since in the 18th century the Seigneurs of the court could no longer afford its exorbitant cost, notably to the luxurious clothing required.

Section 3: Temporary Stages and Venues

The whole of Versailles, and even Marly and Trianon, served as a theatre. Until the Royal Opera House was finally built in Versailles in 1770 for the Dauphin’s wedding, stages were set up in the park and its perspectives, in various apartments using removable installations, and even in rooms which were temporarily or permanently modified for the purpose. This proliferation of stages demonstrates the incredible theatre culture in Versailles.

Themes
• The Temple of Minerva, the fully preserved unique stage backdrop from the Ancien Régime, which has been restored and reassembled for the exhibition.
• Five videos guide visitors through sites of ordinary and extraordinary spectacles, using 3D modelling to present both still-existing and bygone performance venues.

Section 4: Stage Performances

All performances, from comedies to tragedies, operas to ballets, fell into one of three categories: extraordinary (open to a large audience), ordinary (reserved for the court), and society theatre (highly exclusive). In particular, there were constant repeat performances, mixing of genres within a single evening and a predilection for the comical and even burlesque.

Ordinary Theatre
Ordinary performances, or ‘court performances’, were given in the winter three or four evenings a week, from 6:00 to 10:00, by three dedicated troops. They alternated between French comedy, Italian comedy, and tragedy. Italian comedy notably included comedies in three acts, entertainment and pieces de circonstance of all kinds. Marivaux was an official playwright of Italian comedies. French comedy was characterised by grand five-act dramas, comedies and tragedies. Lyric tragedies and tragic operas were put on by the Royal Academy of Music. Since Versailles did not have a suitable theatre space (unlike Saint-Germain and Fontainebleau), tragedies were performed without scenery, mechanisms or costumes. Under Louis XV, who did not much care for music, lyric works were rarely performed for ordinary audiences.

Society Theatre
• For the education of the Duchess of Burgundy in the Grand Chamber of Mme de Maintenon. She was taught by Baron. Edifying plays by Racine were put on (Esther at Saint-Cyr but attended by the entire court, and Athalie in 1702), as were plays that were specially written by Duché, the king’s Valet de Chambre.
• The Marquise de Pompadour in the theatre in the private apartments on the Ambassadors’ Staircase. During four seasons, from 1747 to 1750, from 6:00 until 10:00 or 11:00pm, plays were performed in two parts, with an interval for scenery and costume changes. Additional pieces were recited or sung alongside works from the great repertoire by Molière, Lully, and others.
• The Seigneurs’ Troop at the Petit Trianon. Much less professional than Mme de Pompadour’s troop, the Seigneurs’ Troop was composed of ten or so artists performing simple plays, comic operas and comedies. There were three major seasons: August and September of 1780, the summers of 1782 and 1783, and the one-time, crowning performance of The Barber of Seville (Beaumarchais) on August 19, 1785 (with the queen as Rosine, Artois as Figaro, and Vaudreuil as Count Almaviva) in front a very small audience and with the playwright present as a guest.

Section 5: Concerts

Jean-Marc Nattier, Portrait of Madame Henriette of France Playing the Viola da Gamba (RMN-GP / Château de Versailles).

Jean-Marc Nattier, Portrait of Madame Henriette of France Playing the Viola da Gamba (RMN-GP / Château de Versailles).

Music was everywhere. Under the aegis of the all-powerful Superintendent of His Majesty’s Music, the Musique de la Chamber was in charge of the Court’s daily entertainment. Balls, comic ballets, lyric tragedies and dances at evening gatherings were all part of the Musique de la Chambre’s remit.

Chamber Concerts and, under Marie Leszczyńska, the Queen’s Concerts
Chamber concerts were performed without costumes, backdrops, or ballets and lasted an hour. The princes would sometimes play instead of musicians who were not up to standard. Grand chamber concerts were also held two or three times a week.

Concerts in the King’s Chamber
The flautist Michel de la Barre quickly became a frequent performer in the rooms of Versailles, alongside François Couperin, Antoine Forqueray and the Hotteterre brothers, at the famous concerts in the King’s Chamber, which Louis XIV enjoyed toward the very end of his reign.

Private Practice
Louis XIV was very skilled at the lute and guitar, which had until then been considered commoners’ instruments but which he made respectable. The Mesdames played the violin and viola da gamba, and Marie Antoinette played the harp.

Section 6: Promenades and Outdoor Games

Like hunting, with which they alternated, promenades and strolls in the gardens provided a breath of fresh air. Under Louis XIV, promenades were a courtly affair, with the king travelling on foot, in a wheeled chair or in a carriage. Conversely, Louis XV and Louis XVI preferred to take their strolls in a less ceremonial manner, so their presence did not detract from the pleasure.

Groves were constant sources of surprise and marvel thanks to their variety, landscape design and water features, providing a cool, summertime refuge full of birdsong.

Trianon was popular for its botanical collections, and the Menagerie for its curious animals. The canal was perfect for boating in the summer and ice skating and sled races in the winter.

Between Versailles, Trianon, and Marly, skilled players of pall-mall and real tennis had a number of courts at their disposal. Boldness and athleticism were a must in a competitive world where education and personality traits required players to give it their all in appearance and in reality.

Section 7: Games

In the court, games took three forms:
• ‘The king’s game’ and ‘the queen’s game’, played at evening gatherings in the apartments at Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV. Marie Leszczynska’s game was played in the Peace Room starting in 1739. It continued in the Royal Room at Marly during all three reigns and included lotteries.
• ‘The royal game’ was played at evening gatherings in the State Apartments during grand royal festivals as a spectacle open to a wider audience than just the court.
• Private games, open only to certain members and more with a more relaxed etiquette. The games were played after the king’s supper in his private rooms or in the accommodation of one of the courtiers.

High-stakes games attracted bold and expert players, both male and female. Losses meant financial dependence on the king. To be permitted to play at the king’s table was a mark of favour that made and lost fortunes.

Games required luxurious furniture and accessories. Agreements were put in place to codify the Court’s house rules.

• Card games: lansquenet, ombre, quadrille, reversis, brelan, whist, pharaoh
• Games of chance: dice, lotto, cavagnole
• Strategy games: chess, checkers, and especially tric trac
• Games of skill: billiards, gym sets

Section 8: Balls and Masquerades

Court Balls
In the time of Louis XIV, balls were held every Saturday in the Mars Room or in the gallery next to the War Room. Under Louis XV, dances at Versailles were more spread out, taking place mainly in the Hercules Room but also sometimes spreading to four locations: the Hercules, Mars, Mercury, and Apollo Rooms. Later on, the theatre in the Princes’ Courtyard, which could be transformed into a ballroom when enlarged, was also used. Beginning in 1775, Marie Antoinette restored the pomp to court balls, which she held on Wednesdays […] from the start of the year until Lent, often in wooden houses constructed temporarily for the purpose.

Dances
Ballroom dancing required great technical skill acquired from childhood. Dancing was practiced under the supervision of dance masters (Beauchamp, Pécour and Ballon, and later Lany, Laval, Gardel, and Vestris). Balls began with group dances (the branle under Louis XIV, then later the gavotte), followed by couples’ dances (frequently minuets, which were replaced by contra dances in the 1750s).

Formal Balls and Masked Balls
Held for special occasions, formal balls involved a higher degree of ceremony and pomp than court balls and were held in the largest rooms (the Royal Stables, the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Opera House). During Carnival and other major celebrations, ordinary balls were replaced by masked balls, which were an opportunity to show off extravagant costumes, although in terms of choreography the two were nearly indistinguishable.

Section 9: Behind the Scenes

Of Monsters and Machines
Special effects, monsters, splendour, and sound effects transported courtiers to fantastical worlds that were as much a testament to the inventiveness of the engineers and designers of the King’s Chambers as to the kings’ passion for Baroque effects.

Fireworks and Illuminations
No extraordinary event could be held without a firework show, with temporary constructions set aflame, illuminations along the grand canal, and fireworks in the Marble Courtyard. Every spectacle required creativity, technical knowledge, and ingeniousness; only the best pyrotechnicians were hired.

Credits

Curators
• Beatrix Saule — Head curator of the exhibition, Director – general curator of the Musée National des Chateaux de Versailles et de Trianon
• Elisabeth Caude — General curator, Head of the Department of Furniture and Works of art of the Musée National des Chateaux de Versailles et de Trianon
• Jerome de La Gorce — Emeritus director of research at the CNRS, Scientific advisor at the Centre de recherche du chateau de Versailles

Artistic Director
Patrick Hourcade

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New Book | A Civic Utopia

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 1, 2016

When we noted the exhibition A Civic Utopia this past summer, we didn’t include information on the catalogue, which is now available from Drawing Matter:

Nicholas Olsberg and Basile Baudez, A Civic Utopia: Architecture and the City in France, 1765–1837 (London: Drawing Matter, 2016), 52 pages, ISBN: 978-0995630901, £20.

img_9593This large format, finely illustrated edition is published to coincide with the exhibition A Civic Utopia at The Courtauld Gallery of Art. In addition to the ‘Introduction’, it contains an essay entitled ‘Law, Order and the Beautiful’ by Nicholas Olsberg and ‘Case Studies’ by Basile Baudez. The essay explores the Enlightenment themes: A New Rome, Porta, Ratio, Lex, Sanitas, Spectaculum, Lexicon, and Exemplum. The case studies examine the work of Louis Combes, Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, André Sainte-Marie Châtillon, Paul Piot, François-Joseph Bélanger, François-Joseph Bélanger, and Louis-Pierre Baltard. The book expands on a selection of architectural drawings from the exhibition that show public building and public space in Enlightenment-era France. The drawings served as models for the expression of an ordered and open civic life as the foundation of an ideal polity. They responded to the urgings of writers, critics, and philosophes to make a systematic effort toward civic improvement, or what Voltaire entitled the “embellissement de la ville.”

The book traces how, over the next century, a new model of the modern French city emerged, one that deployed a consistent architecture capable of expressing the liberal qualities of the civic life within it: ordered, open, and dignified. These ideal forms, the methods of visualising and realising them through drawing, and the techniques of design and construction developed to build them, were circulated through engravings and compendia throughout the world. With their new emphases on turning their principal face out towards the street and square, on the horizontal line, and on the evident entrance, these models established an international aesthetic for the architecture of public life, and a universal system of architectural training.

Basile Baudez is maître de conférences at Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV and visiting professor at the Ecole nationale des Chartes. His main areas of research are the history of architectural schools and the Beaux-Arts system and the history of architectural representation in the Western world. Recent publications include, Les Hôtels de la Guerre et des Affaires étrangères à Versailles (co-editor), and Chalgrin, architectes et architecture entre l’Ancien Régime et l’Empire as well as numerous journal articles. His current book project addresses the history of colour in architectural representation.

Nicholas Olsberg is an historian, archivist, curator and writer. As Editor of the Colonial and State Records of South Carolina from 1967–74, he published numerous studies on political and civic life in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and as Archivist of the Commonwealth from 1975 to 1979 produced a major exhibition on the 1790 constitution of Massachusetts. His recent published works in architecture include major monographs on Cliff May, John Lautner, Arthur Erickson, and Ernest and Esther Born; a series of essays on Frank Lloyd Wright; and regular contributions to journals of architecture.

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Study Day | Print Collecting in the 18th Century

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on December 1, 2016

A study day in connection with the exhibition An Amateur’s Passion: Lord Fitzwilliam’s Print Collection . . .

Print Collecting in the 18th Century: English Print
Collectors and Collections of English Prints

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 20 January 2017

collaert-album

Jan Collaert Album (Cambridge: The Fitzwilliam Museum)

From the outset the print collection was one of the chief glories of the Fitzwilliam. The collection of Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam (1745–1816), which he left to the University of Cambridge in order to found the Fitzwilliam, included 198 albums of prints and four unbound portfolios, containing some 40,000 prints. Lord Fitzwilliam’s collection of Rembrandt prints was considered one of the two best collections of his day, but he had much else besides. His collections of Netherlandish and early German prints, notably those by Dürer, were remarkably complete. He spent much time in Paris in the 1780s (he had a mistress there), thus affording him the opportunity to collect French prints in large number. Some of his albums derive from French aristocratic collections broken up at the time of the French Revolution. These albums still sit on the shelves in the Print Room of the Fitzwilliam today. Although the stars of the collection—the Rembrandts, the Dürers—have long since been mounted in separate mounts (mats) for ease of study and display, most of Fitzwilliam’s albums remain intact: a fabulously rare and precious document of an eighteenth-century print collection. Fitzwilliam himself carefully supervised the arrangement of the prints in these albums, mostly during the last years of his life, when he retired to his house in Richmond to devote himself to such tasks.

Tickets £10. Lunch is not included, but coffee is provided. Booking is essential: telephone 01223 332904 or email education@fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk.

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P R O G R A M M E

10.00  Registration and coffee

10.20  Morning Session
• David Alexander, Print Collecting in Eighteenth Century Britain: An Overview
• Nick Stogdon, Collecting Rembrandt Prints in the Eighteenth Century
• Simon Turner, Collecting Hollar: Drawings and Prints
• Elenor Ling, Lord Fitzwilliam’s Print Collection
• Meredith Hale, Thomas Kerrich as Print Collector

12:30  Short tour of An Amateur’s Passion

12:45  Group A visits Graham Robertson Study Room to view selection of albums

13:00  Group B visits Graham Robertson Study Room to view selection of albums

13:15  Lunch

14.30  Afternoon Session
• Sileas Wood, John Brand: Antiquarian
• Sarah Grant, Marie-Antoinette and the Princesse de Lamballe’s English Prints’ Prints
• Kate Heard, ‘A Most Profitable and Intelligent Study’: George IV as a Collector of Prints

15.30  Closing remarks and final discussion

 

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Call for Papers | Curating History

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 1, 2016

kunstkammer_landesmuseum_wu%cc%88rttemberg_09

Kunstkammer, Landesmuseum Württemberg (Württemberg State Museum), Stuttgart (Photo by Bernd Gross, Wikimedia Commons, June 2016).

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From the workshop website:

Curating History Workshop
European University Institute, Florence, 10–13 October 201

Proposals due by 15 January 2017

Museums display objects constructed in historical complexity that cannot be explained by a single narrative. This complexity constitutes an obstacle for museum actors, who are assigned the task of providing an interpretation that can never embrace the entirety of the narratives contained in one object. Additionally, this difficulty expands when objects have to be placed in the narrative of permanent exhibitions, which present certain specific constraints.

Permanent exhibitions are at the core of the work of most museums. Even if ‘permanent’ does not mean eternal, these exhibitions are the public expression of the museum’s collections and mission. Thus, considering the limitations in both presenting the historical complexity of objects and taking into account the constraint of choosing a narrative for permanent exhibitions, we wish to look out for ways in which the museum can be turned into a place of convergence where curators, researchers, and audiences can think historically about objects. Are there new and old ways of curating history in permanent exhibitions? How is it possible to bring together museums, academia, and the public? In organising this workshop, we would like to offer a place for discussion where curators and scholars from a broad variety of institutions (museums, universities, research institutes, etc.) elaborate a joint reflection in both theoretical and practical terms, structured around four sessions: History, Responsibility, Mediation, and Communication (between Curators and Scholars).

Confirmed Speakers
Kim Sloan, The British Museum
Marta Lourenço, Museums of the University of Lisbon
Sébastien Soubiran, University of Strasbourg

The European University Institute, in Florence, the Global History & Culture Centre at the University of Warwick, and the CHAM – Centro de Humanidades, in Lisbon, in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art in London, welcome papers for the workshop Curating History, which will take place in Florence from the 10th to the 13th of October 2017. You are invited to send proposals (maximum of 250 words, in a PDF file, to curating.history@gmail.com) for a 4000-word paper of a case study or a theoretical discussion that fits one of the four sessions: History, Responsibility, Mediation, or Communication (between Curators and Scholars). The paper will be the basis for a 15-minute presentation at the workshop. Please ensure that you indicate your name, academic/professional affiliation, and which session you are writing your paper for (depending on the number of papers received, the organising committee may have to decide to allocate papers to a different session). Deadline for submitting abstracts is the 15th January 2017. Selection of abstracts will take place during the following two weeks. Once selected, participants will be invited to write their papers and submit them to the organising committee by the 1st September 2017. Papers will be made available so that participants can prepare for the discussion. The organising committee is applying for funding to help covering travel expenses or accommodation in Florence; at this stage, however, grants for participants cannot be guaranteed.

Email for abstract submission: curating.history@gmail.com

European University Institute
Charlotte Bellamy
Deborah Dubald
Bruno A. Martinho

CHAM – Centro de Humanidades
Carla Alferes Pinto
Sofia Lapa

Global History and Culture Centre, University of Warwick
Holly Winter
Josephine Tierney

V&A Museum / Royal College of Art
Matthew Wells

 

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Call for Essays | A Worldwide Market for Old Masters

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 1, 2016

The editors assure me they’re keen to have submissions from the 1790s and early nineteenth century! CH

A Worldwide Market for Old Masters between the Napoleonic Era and the Great Depression, edited by Susanna Avery-Quash and Barbara Pezzini (Oxford University Press).

Chapter proposals due by 1 February 2017

We are soliciting chapter abstracts for an edited collection with the provisional title A Worldwide Market for Old Masters between the Napoleonic Era and the Great Depression. The volume will be an edited collection of around 15 essays, each of 6000–7000 words (plus footnotes), with up to 5 illustrations. It is envisaged that the collection will be part of the Oxford University Press series on the History of Collecting, edited by Christina Anderson and Peter Stewart.

This project stems from a panel convened by Susanna Avery-Quash at the conference, Creating Markets: Collecting Art, which took place at Christie’s in July 2016, as part of Christie’s 250th anniversary celebrations. In the light of the positive feedback received at the conference, the editors have decided to broaden scope of the book to include historic studies about the Old Master market in Australia, Africa, and Australasia. Consequently, we are incorporating additional essays into the book, commissioning these through a call for papers. Authors who have already confirmed their participation are Julia Armstrong-Totten, Sarah Bakkali, Gail Feigenbaum, Christian Huemer, Agnès Penot, Veronique Powell, and Inge Reist.

As a result of the Napoleonic wars, vast numbers of Old Master paintings were released on to the market from public and private collections across mainland Europe. From the 1790s onwards, many ended up in London, which joined Paris as a leading centre of the art market. In the course of the 19th century the market for ‘old art’ expanded, in volume and geographically, witnessing a new worldwide distribution of Old Master paintings. This growth only diminished in the early 1930s, in the wake of the Great Depression.

The book aims to explore for the first time in a comprehensive way the worldwide movement of Old Master paintings by investigating some of the most significant agents, dealers, and commercial galleries who flourished during the period and their international networks. We are seeking for contributions that map analytically this expansion and explore the ways in which the pioneering practices of agents and dealers contributed to shape a changing market. We desire, in particular, contributions that make use of new archival resources.

In the light of new primary sources the essays in the book will address some aspects of the following questions: Why, when, and how did these dealers (or agents and galleries) come to specialise in selling Old Masters? What shaped their expertise and subsequent practice, and how did they operate and diversify? How did they make a name for themselves, and what, if anything, made them distinctive or innovative? What effect did they have on the art market and on patterns of collecting? How did the international trade contributed to the success (or demise) of their businesses? What was their relationship with established museums? How did they use other means—such as exhibitions, photographs, and advertisements—to promote their wares? Finally, what was their relationship with art historiography, art criticism, and with a changing art press?

We are seeking contributions from scholars of the Old Masters Market, 1800–1930 in its broadest sense, with a special interest in business history and/or attention to commercial international connections. The following topics are particularly desired:
• Germany, Italy, and other European countries
• Asian, African, and Australian countries
• Smaller dealers and alternative networks of circulation
• The firm of Duveen Brothers

Please send a 500-word abstract (excluding bibliography) with a title, a 150-word biography, and a short CV and contact info (for each author/co-author) to both Susanna.Avery-Quash@ng-london.org.uk and barbarartpezzini@gmail.com by 1 February 2017. Notification of decisions to follow by 1 March 2017.

Editors
Susanna Avery-Quash, Senior Research Curator in the History of Collecting, The National Gallery; and Barbara Pezzini, Editor and Index Editor, Visual Resources and The Burlington Magazine.

Miguel Zugaza To Step Down as Director of Prado for Bilbao

Posted in museums by Editor on December 1, 2016

Press release (30 November 2016) from the Prado:

This morning, Miguel Zugaza informed the Permanent Committee of the Royal Board of Trustees of his decision to conclude his term next year as director of the Museo del Prado after fifteen years in the position. He also announced his intention to reassume the post of director of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum on the retirement of its present director.

In a text addressed to Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, and to Unai Rementeria, Chairman of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, Miguel Zugaza stated that he “considers the goals established during his term of office to have been fulfilled and expresses his thanks for all the support received.” The Museum’s Director for the past fifteen years considers that “the Museum is now embarking on a new and exciting phase with the focus on its bicentenary and on the completion of the Museo del Prado Campus with the addition of the Hall of Realms.” At the same time, he considers himself “extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to return to the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum (of which he was director between 1995 and 2001) and offer it all the experience he has acquired.”

The Minister of Education, Culture and Sport has personally thanked Miguel Zugaza for the services he has rendered the Museum over so many years and has asked him to continue to be involved in its bicentenary project through the Committee for the 2nd centenary of the Museo Nacional del Prado in 2019.

For his part and in the name of the Bilbao museum’s founding institutions (the City Council of Bilbao, the Provincial Government of Bizkaia and the Basque Government), the Chairman of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and current president of the Bilbao museum’s Board of Trustees expressed his satisfaction at being able to count on Miguel Zugaza for leading the museum forward after the outstanding contribution made over the past years by Javier Viar Olloqui. Both institutions have agreed to stay in contact in order to facilitate the transition of directorship of the respective museums. With this aim in mind, the Minister will propose to the Prado’s Royal Board of Trustees the creation of a specific committee at the Museum. As established in its statutes, it will initiate the selection procedure prior to the proposal of a new appointment to the Council of Ministers. Mr Zugaza will remain in his position with all the powers authorised by it until a new director is appointed.

José Pedro Pérez-Llorca, president of the Museum’s Royal Board of Trustees, wished to emphasise that “the Museo del Prado will never be able to sufficiently express its thanks to Miguel Zugaza for his intelligence, wisdom and imagination and the authority with which he has led the Museum”, and that “the results of his efforts, namely the great success of the Prado, speak for themselves.”