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Spain’s Prado Museum drafting evacuation plan for its artworks

Spain’s Prado Museum drafting evacuation plan for its artworks

In August 1936, Francisco Javier Sánchez Cantón, who was the deputy director of the Prado, closed the museum and produced a list of 250 artworks that had to be moved out. Thousands of paintings were additionally brought down to the lower floors to prevent damage in the event of air raids by Franco’s forces – which did take place, in November of that year. The paintings were covered with sandbags for added protection.

Working together with the Republican government’s Artistic Heritage Committee, the Prado organized 22 expeditions to Valencia between November 1936 and February 1938, taking out 391 paintings, 181 drawings and the Tesoro del Delfín, a collection of decorative cups made with precious stones and metals that once belonged to Louis of France, the Grand Dauphin.

With Republican forces losing the war, the art was then taken from Valencia to Figueres in Catalonia, and from there to Geneva in Switzerland, where it remained until the end of the war in 1939.