Jan Brueghel the Younger, "Snowy Landscape" (after 1625) (via Wikimedia Commons)

The Prado Museum in Madrid has published a list of 25 artworks in its collection that were likely seized during the Spanish Civil War. A September 20 statement from the museum indicated that these works may have been confiscated by the Commission for the Protection of Artistic Heritage and “deposited in [the museum’s] collections by the General Division for National Artistic Heritage,” a branch established by dictator Francisco Franco during the war. 

The vast majority of the 25 works were directly brought to the General Division for National Artistic Heritage, while a handful first made their way to the Museo de Arte Moderno, also in Madrid. Among the works are a landscape painting by Jan Brueghel the Younger from the early 17th century, an allegorical scene of cherubs playing with a pigeon by French Rococo painter François Copia Boucher, and a nativity scene by Spanish Renaissance father and son pair Rodrigo and Francisco de Osona. A full list of works researchers believe were wrongfully seized has been published by the Prado Museum in conjunction with Spain’s Culture of Ministry. 

Most of the works were not on view, and researchers say they will now look into why and how the works were originally taken. The investigation represents the first step of a process to return the works to families and descendants of those who originally owned them. The list of artworks subject to restitution may also grow; Arturo Colorado Castellary, a Spanish Civil War and cultural heritage scholar who has been enlisted for the investigation, will “expand the study of these cases and analyze other possible seizures,” according to the museum.

The full results of the museum’s investigation are slated for publication in January 2023. 

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Jasmine Liu

Jasmine Liu is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she studied anthropology and mathematics at Stanford University.

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