Why is the Prado keeping its Bosch works?

 Madrid  |  27 February 2016  |  AMA  |  Tweet  |  LinkedIn

The Prado (Madrid) has decided to cancel its prospective loan of two paintings by Hieronymus Bosch (The Cure of Folly and The Temptation of St. Anthony) for a retrospective dedicated to the artist at the Noordbrabants Museum in his birth town, ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands — “Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of genius” closes may 8, 2016.

This turnaround follows conclusions published by the Bosch Research and Conservation Project, directed by Jos Koldeweij and Matthijs Ilsink, co-curators of the exhibition to be held at the Noordbrabants Museum, who attribute these two paintings to the artist’s workshop or a disciple, and not the artist himself. The Prado contests the validity of this conclusion, denouncing it as being based on “extremely subjective stylistic aspects”, and accuses the Noordbrabants Museum of breaking with the conditions of the agreement regarding the loan.

The exhibition bodes to be one of the most important ones to be devoted to the master of the Flemish Renaissance as it has gathered 17 of the artist’s 24 known works. The two museums committed to collaborating in the organisation of the exhibition in 2008 before this affair brought tension to their relationship. The Noorbrabandts Museum will nonetheless be hosting two other works loaned by the Prado, a copy of Bosch and the Haywain Triptych, announced as the exhibition’s major attraction, and featured on the cover of the exhibition catalogue.

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