year XIV / 2009

Carlos Fernández de Henestrosa: Assistant Administration Manager of the Museo del PradoMISCELLANEOUS

Carlos Fernández de Henestrosa was born in Nice in 1949, is an economist and has held several positions, the one immediately before his current duty being that of Managing Director of the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza which he held for 11 years.

Can you give us a potted history of the Museo del Prado? Approximately how many works are exhibited and how many stored in its vaults? What budgetary, technical and human resources does it have?
The Museo del Prado is a public organisation attached to the Ministry of Culture. Created in 1819 as the Real Museo de Pinturas y Esculturas (Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture) at the initiative of Fernando VII, the current Museo Nacional del Prado includes a collection of approximately 7,000 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 3,000 prints and 6,400 drawings, as well as an extensive number of decorative objets d’art and historic documents in a space of approximately 60,000 square metres. Approximately 1,000 of the most outstanding works are currently being exhibited. In the near future, it is planned to expand the permanent collection to about 1,500 works exhibited. There is also a large part of the museum’s stock, approximately 3,200 works, being held in other State institutions and official organisations. It should be remembered that the works being exhibited do not include any belonging to the major collections of drawings and prints built up by the Prado because these types of works cannot be exhibited on a regular basis due to their fragile conservation conditions.
More than 400 people work in the Museo del Prado performing a variety of duties ranging from guarding the works to research work, via conservation and restoration, as well as various administrative and management activities. The budget for 2009 is more than 46 million Euros and in terms of technical resources it has the necessary resources to perform the numerous activities it carries out paying special attention to any new technologies that may be relevant to the Museum.

Is it still the most visited place in Spain?
Of course, it is the most visited museum in Spain but there is no logic in comparing the number of visitors received by the Prado with those received for example by the Alhambra – a palace complex - or the Sagrada Familia – a church -, although they are also two of the most visited tourist destinations in Spain.

How significant is the first paragraph of the ICOM (International Council of Museums) Code of Ethics to the Museo del Prado: “Museums ensure the protection, documentation and promotion of humanity’s natural and cultural heritage”?
The mission of the Museo del Prado expressed in Article 3 of the law which governs it, under the heading “objectives and purposes” practically matches what was stated in the previous paragraph, although it also says that it must ensure the collections are properly exhibited, provide easy access to the public and researchers, promote educational programmes and train specialist personnel, as well as provide scientific advice to the competent Government bodies.

What do the security plans cover?
Like other great world museums, the Prado has a security committee or group of experts consisting of in-house and external professionals who carry out a risk management process, beginning by identifying, analysing and assessing all those risks relating to the security of the assets, contents and people working there. The answer to this question may seem brief but I cannot go into further detail. All I can tell you is that the museum has the personnel resources and appropriate technology to guarantee the security of the people and the items in its care.

Could you estimate the value of the contents of the Museum?
The value of the works is incalculable and bearing in mind their singular nature, it would be impossible to replace them. No one would have the temerity to put a figure on the value of the contents.

What insurance do you have?
The works in the Museo del Prado are insured whenever it is necessary to move them outside the museum, whether for temporary exhibitions or for any reason in connection with their conservation. The insurance is always All Risks on a “nail to nail” basis. The figure can be between 60 and 70% depending on the type of exhibition. Obviously, taking out the insurance is down to the institution organising the exhibition.
The security of the works while they are being moved is assured by the State Police who are obliged to escort them to their destination.

What transport insurance cover is used or required?
It depends on circumstances, but the usual form is private insurance and State Insurance or a combination of both.

How does restoration affect the value of the paintings?
Bearing in mind that the works are not valued, the restoration process cannot change the value.

Is the refurbishment of the Museo del Prado completely finished or are there still relevant projects under way?
The Salón de Reinos (Royal Salon) is the most relevant project for the Museo Nacional del Prado, although the restoration of certain areas in the Edificio Villanueva and the Casa de los Águila in Ávila is worthy of mention.

What major claims have there been over the last few years?
Practically none.

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