Discovery at Prado Museum: medieval sculpture is from 20th century

Spain News

MADRID: Restorers working on what they believe is a fifteenth century sculpture discover it is a more modern piece. The medieval sculpture turns out to be from the twentieth century.

Long considered a fifteenth century piece, the sculpture ‘Virgen orante entronizada’ (the praying and enthroned virgin) is, in fact, a twentieth-century work. The National Council of Museums purchased the artwork in 1971. The sculpture is of polychrome alabaster; carved from transparent marble, colourfully painted and partially gilded. The council catalogued it as a medieval sculpture belonging to the Spanish School of the fifteenth century. In 1974, the artwork moved to the Museo Nacional del Prado. The museum exhibited it in 1999 and 2003. In October 2017, the museum decided to carry out extensive cleaning and restoration work on the piece.

The eye of the experts

medieval sculpture of virgin is from 20th centuryAfter an initial visual inspection, the experts from the sculpture restoration studio noted striking issues in the execution of the work. These included the painting, the quality of the material chosen and the method of caving the sculpture.

500 years difference

As the cleaning work progressed, indications this was not a work from the fifteenth century became increasingly clear. Therefore, the material laboratory of the Prado Museum took micro-samples of the polychromy and studied them thoroughly. The results of the intensive technical study confirmed the suspicions. The date of the sculpture was out by 500 years.

Conference

The result of this research was to be revealed at the conference ‘Alabaster as a material for sculpture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance’. Originally planned by the Louvre Museum for 24 and 25 June, it will now take place next year due to the pandemic.

Spain News
A more biodiverse and greener Barcelona is on the cards

23, Jun 2021

At the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, Barcelona set itself the goal of having 160 hectares more greenery in the city by 2030. In the meantime, the Spanish city sharpens…

Spain News
New real estate bubble not likely to happen soon according to Spaniards

23, Jun 2021

In the pandemic summer of 2020, more Spaniards intended to buy their own home. Now that number has fallen sharply again. The likelihood of a new real estate bubble in…

Spain News
Noche de San Juan - where is it possible to celebrate?

23, Jun 2021

Noche de San Juan has arrived. Despite the increasingly optimistic epidemiological situation in Spain, partying during 'the New Year's Eve' is not an option in many places. However, there are…

Spain News
Football pundit Rafael van der Vaart both under fire and praised in Spain

23, Jun 2021

FOOTBALL - The Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart is the talk of the town in Spain. After his fierce criticism of the Spanish team, players were far from happy. However,…

Spain News
Air pollution kills thousands in Spain every year

23, Jun 2021

88% of Spaniards and 80% of Spain's land area were exposed to unhealthy air in 2020. This despite the fact air pollution fell to its lowest level in a decade…