It rains it pours in our museums. Despite the fact that the State Meteorological Agency raised the alert to red due to the forecast of torrential rains and the Madrid City Council kept the Flood Action Plan activated, DANA was less virulent than expected. However, our museums are still not waterproof. Not even the Prado is saved, where a director, Felipe Garinresigned in 1993 precisely because of some leaks that fell into the room where they hang ‘Las Meninas’ and other works by Velázquez. In March 2013, heavy rains in the capital caused a leak in the museum’s extension warehouses, affecting six paintings and eight drawings, including Brueghel the Elder’s ‘Wedding Banquet’.
As ABC has learned, the Prado workers were alerted to intensify surveillance due to the adverse weather situation. On Monday, early in the morning, a security guard detected a damp spot on the room 10Awhere they hang nine Zurbarán masterpieces. Immediately, the protocol was activated: the room was closed (it is not expected to open until Thursday), some paintings were removed as a precaution (they confirm that none have been affected), such as ‘San Jacobo de la Marca’ and ‘Crucified Christ, with a painter’ and the museum technicians began to look for the origin of the humidity. The drains were saturated. Precisely, on May 25, the renovation of the roofs of this room began, the works of which are expected to last eight months.
Fortunately, the same did not happen in the room where they are exhibited. ‘Las Meninas’ and other Velázquez, whose cover is also being renovated since April. On May 3, the Council of Ministers authorized the start of the works on the deck Room 12 of the Villanueva building in the Prado. The works, which were requested as an emergency and whose amount amounts to €1.4 million, would last for nine months. In the report made by El Prado, to which ABC has had access, the poor condition of the cover of the room, appreciable in some attached photographs. It stated that the room and the works that hung in it (including ‘Las Meninas’) were at risk and that urgent action was needed. According to Prado sources, the contractor was specified that throughout the process the works had to be one hundred percent safe. All this made the project more expensive.
The Reina Sofía has not been immune to water either. The execution of the expansion of Jean Nouvelwhat did it cost €93 millionFrom the start, it left a lot to be desired. There was no space in the museum that was waterproof. Rather than repel water, it attracted it. Hence, the covers had to be checked as soon as it was inaugurated. In summer 2005, in the middle of the drought, some leaks appeared in one of the new exhibition halls, where Juan Gris masterpieces on loan from museums around the world hung. On that occasion the water came from a hose left open by mistake on a terrace above the room. The result: 1,650 liters thrown overboard and a wet canvas from the Academy of Fine Arts. A year later, it rained on Madrid and the water ended up seeping into the brand new warehouses. Days later, there was humidity in a book storage room of the Documentation and Library Center. An image of the wet books drying with a fan.
One of the rooms of the Reina Sofía where the Guillermo Navarro Steinbruch Collection is exhibited
The museum has not been spared by the latest storms. And again it has been in the extension of the French architect. Specifically, in the floor 1 of the Nouvel building, where works from the Susana and Ricardo Steinbruch Collection, patrons of the museum, are exhibited until October 2. ABC was able to confirm that on Monday a humidity in that space, which has been closed to the public for prevention until the reason for the water leak is known. No work that hung in the room has been affected. From the Thyssen Museum they assure that there have been no water leaks in its rooms.
One of the rooms of the Museo del Greco in Toledo Museo del Greco, Toledo
In Toledo, the Greek Museum It has been forced to close after the passage of the storm, since in the outdoor areas the drains of the entrance halls to the museum have been unblocked and spaces such as the historic garden, where all the trees are being checked, have been cleaned and dried. Inside the museum, the dehumidifiers installed on Monday have stabilized the relative humidity conditions in several rooms. Action has also been taken on leaks in specific areassome piece of furniture has been removed, such as a showcase, and the volumes of the modern collection, books, magazines and archival collections kept in the staff workspaces have been evacuated.
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