SPAIN’S biggest art gallery, the Prado, could be coming to Malaga – but not everyone is happy about it.
The Prado, in Madrid, houses one of the world’s finest collections of 12th to 19th century European art with large numbers of works by Velazquez, Goya, Rubens, Titian and Bosch.
And if Andalucia PP boss and Junta president candidate Javier Arenas gets his way, Malaga’s Aduana Palace will be turned into a second seat of the national museum – allowing the southern Spanish city to share some of the glory.
The proposals were presented to central government in Estepona by a team of PP delegates lead by Arenas, who came away feeling ‘very optimistic’ about culture minister Ignacio Wert’s reaction to the plan.
“He listened with interest to the initiative and thinks it’s a good idea,” said Malaga County Council leader Elias Bendodo.
The point of contention is that Aduana Palace already houses Malaga Museum, which is currently undergoing a 23.6 million euro refurbishment and is already set to house 115 works from the Prado when it reopens in 2013.
Current Andalucia culture minister, Paulino Plata, says the PP’s new plan is unclear and throws a spanner in the works for Malaga Museum, adding that it is bound to delay the reopening.
“Perhaps they are suggesting building an entirely new museum with the works that were intended for Malaga Museum,” he said, adding that the proposals needed ‘to be looked into further’.
Other criticisms have been voiced from the Velazquez for Sevilla Association who say the proposals are ‘ill thought-out’ and ‘frivolous’, and that other museums in Andalucia have been waiting years for a Prado.
The PP delegation, however, is keen to push forward with their plan, saying a Prado would reinforce Malaga – which already attracts visitors worldwide with the prestigious Thyssen and Picasso galleries – as an international cultural tourism destination.
They underlined the importance of using the Prado brand in Malaga, and pointed out that other international museums, such as the Guggenheim and Louvre, had been able increase their collections and status by branching out geographically.
They did, however, clarify that for the moment it is only a proposal.
“We’ll have to wait until after the regional elections,” said Bendodo – referring to the election on March 25 that the PP is likely to win.
Whatever happens, the final decision will lie with the Prado’s Royal Board of Trustees, chaired by King Juan Carlos himself.