“Technicians at the Prado Museum determine, through observation of a simple photo, whether a painting attributed to Goya really is it or…not!”

Translation of the article published in the Spanish ABC Journal, Sunday May 5, 2002, pages 52 and 53. Reprinted by permission.

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A whole intertwined scaffolding of interests overshadows our first pinacoteque, one of the world’s most important, where some official “wise” people, sometimes with a manifest incompetence, cast their opinions in an itinerant career, plagued with failures. (Vid: ABC, Sunday 5/5/2002, pages 52 and 53).

Whereas an inserted opinion of a qualified Goya specialist, Niegel Glenndining, without any doubt one of the world’s utmost experts in Goya, during an interview pronounced himself against the withdrawal by the Museo del Prado of two of the most significant of Goya’s paintings; “El Coloso” and “The Milkmaid of Bordeaux” (La lechera de Burdeos). Furthermore he added with his characteristic “British flair”: “It troubles me that they denied them without demonstrating why”. Criticizing later his fellow Londoner Juliet Wilson Barreau as well as the Goya curator in chief-civil- employee Mrs.Manuela Mena.

Such a statement, as if it was expected by both of them, found a fulfilled answer, right the next day, when in page number 51 of the same newspaper, their manifestations against Mr. Glenndining appeared, as a reply.

The British Juliet Wilson Barreau defending her “famous eye technique” expressed herself in this manner, verbatim: “When you see a painting the fundamental thing is the EYE, I have my EYE and my own way of seeing and Nigel has another very different. Manuela Mena and I are convinced that the fundamental thing is the EYE”…

But don’t our readers believe that the so called “eye technique” is of the exclusive use of the Mrs. Mena and Wilson.

This “infallible technique” that we, quite modestly believe that is totally unscientific, is equally shared by the present Director of the Prado Museum Don Miguel Zugaza who did not have any further consideration in answering the question that was put to him by the journalist Don Jesus Garcia Calero:

”But, Sir, don’t we run the risk of condemning some innocent (real) painting with this proceeding? To which he plainly answered:

“In the Arts it is always difficult to prove affirmations, but we must try, like I am doing now being conscientious that the “eye” is formed in an epoch, with all the perspectives of that epoch. From that point on we must follow to form the coherent group of works painted by Goya”

The journalist replied: “What IF some (real) works do not totally “marry” that “coherence”?

Answer: “Well, in such cases an appendix of doubtful works can be catalogued. There are better paintings and no so good ones, but what really disturbs me is to see bad paintings with the name of Goya”.

Our readers ought to understand that with such “full” answers little or nothing can be done and very little does it matter the modern, sophisticated and advanced technology that exists today: electronic microscopy, chemical pigments analysis, rigorous examination and study of the media support of the painting, spectrographic, chromatography, radiography, etc, etc. It looks like all the available technology is nothing more than…”a Chinese fairy tale” at least for The Prado Museum…. It is much more interested in the ascientific “eye technique. Regrettable, very.

But as the most universal of all medieval poems go: “Cosas veredes, mio Cid, que haran fablar a las piedras”. (Quote from the Spanish “El Cid Campeador”): “Things you will see, my Cid which would make the stones speak.”

Recently, and given that in this country (refers to Spain) certain chosen persons enjoy the prerogatives of the “Pontifex Maximus” (Pope) and do not agree at all to listen to scientific arguments and much less to accept certificates issued by solvent and respectful professionals, if these are not of “their” convenience…

Once more, again, another piece of work by Goya has been dogmatized and not attributed to him by the simple fact that a plain photo, the sole and only data received by the Prado “technicians” has been deemed not to have the necessary pedigree!

We do not pretend as we denounce these facts anything else but the defense of our own legitimate interests, and we encourage from here our authorities that once and since for all these “califas kingdoms” in which our prime pinacoteque (museum) is divided into, act and end them, and that business be conducted with more sense and scientific rigor in order to prevent further and greater damage to thirds.

Recently, in the “Subastas Century XXI” magazine we read, with stupor, Sr. Zugaza the very same one, the director of the Prado Museum, judges with triviality the Museum’s acquisitions with unfortunate phrases like these: “Many times the art market is like a gamble. A gamble that, sometimes becomes speculation. It is the same as a Casino Roulette, sometimes you win, and many others, you loose everything…”

The reality is that public opinion is sick and tired of the inner dealings and controversies around the Prado Museum and they demand “light and records” to put it in order once since for all with the unfortunate incompetence of some of their civil servants who have gone for decades abusing their tool of the “eye technique” without ever considering the science and actual technology for determine the authorship of a painting.

It been more than ten years since a certain person at the Prado Museum who occupies a high rank of “specialization” in Goya, said, among other things, these trivialities: “I do not know if these painting are or not from Goya, who can tell? (Published by the Spanish Newspaper “El Mundo” on October 22, 1993.)

Had not been for the time gone by, dilated for its prescription, this wouldn’t have gone further than a mere, sad anecdote, but the saddest part of this case is that this very same person continues to be a part of the Museo del Padro and enjoys all the prerogatives of her high status

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