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The bank of Spain's other treasure.
14 September 2021 @ 20:27

 

Goya, Sorolla, Madrazo, Chillida ... the banking institution has presented a catalogue with its collection of paintings and sculptures in order to bring them closer to the general public.

It is well known that the Bank of Spain has the largest gold warehouse in the country with a bomb-proof vault that jealously guards thousands of ingots of the gold that constitute only a part of the 283 tons of national reserves. Much less known is the other precious treasure that the institution conserves in the form of paintings and sculptures, a very rich historical-artistic heritage that it has been amassing throughout its 235 years of existence, and which from now on will be more accessible to the general public.

Undoubtedly more valuable than the ingots that the so-called "Gold Chamber" of this emblematic building on Calle Alcalá keeps safe and sound 35 meters underground (each piece weighs 12.5 kilos and has a value of around 600,000 euros), are the Goya, Sorolla, Madrazo, Zuloaga, Tàpies, Chillida ... treasured by the Bank of Spain. They are all part of the  Catalogo Razonado presented yesterday by the organization and which includes its impressive collection of works of art in three volumes, made up of 1,400 pieces by almost 500 Spanish and foreign authors. At the same time, the bank launched its first heritage portal, which makes this fabulous artistic wealth available to everyone.

 

The new catalogue revises and updates another one from 1985 only dedicated to painting, the main discipline represented in the collection. In the current edition, the field of study has been extended to sculpture, drawing and photography.

The three volumes reproduce with great quality each of the 1,400 works in a collection founded over the centuries on the basis of acquisitions, commissions and inheritances from the banks that preceded it. Each one is accompanied by its historical documentation, along with critical comments provided by 22 specialists, as well as the biographies of the artists.

Volume I includes the classical art section: 263 pictorial jewels produced from the 15th century to the first decades of the 20th, and where there are many portraits of the first directors and governors of the Bank of Spain, along with kings and heads of state, who have marked the history of the banking institution since the end of the 18th century. In the words of Javier Portús, head of Conservation of Spanish Painting at the Prado Museum, and author of two of the essays included in this first volume, it is “one of the best collections that exist to study the evolution of the official portrait in Spain since the end of the Modern Age and throughout the Contemporary Age ».

Among these works is a portrait of the Minister of Finance and later Governor of the Bank of Spain in 1877, Pedro Salaverría, painted by Federico de Madrazo and which is considered one of the bank's best canvases. Like a painting of the financier and diplomat of French origin Francisco de Cabarrús signed by Goya in 1788, the last work that the Aragonese genius did for the Bank of San Carlos, the direct predecessor of the Bank of Spain.

Volumes II and III contain more than 1,100 works that make up the contemporary art collection, dating from the middle of the last century to 2018. The pieces corresponding to the 21st century have focused on European and Latin American art.

To discover this unique collection online follow this link  https://coleccion.bde.es/wca/es/



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