THE Prado museum has insisted that their 885 missing artworks have been known about for decades, but 137 are still nowhere to be found.
After news of the missing pieces hit headlines this month, museum representatives clarified that the missing pieces were in fact added to the Prado’s inventory when it merged with another museum – the now defunct Museo de la Trinidad – in 1872.
While the pieces from the Museo de la Trinidad are technically ‘missing’, in reality they are more likely destroyed, non-existent or on loan, with the numbers having built up over years of poor inventory keeping.
Some 1,425 works were reported missing during a 1978 audit, but several investigations – including one in 2012 that recovered 41 – have brought the number of missing pieces down to the current 885.
But only 748 of these ‘missing’ works are the result of the Trinidad merger, meaning that there are still 137 masterpieces unaccounted for.