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Another Museum Accident

June 15, 2022
An exterior shot of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Queen Sofía National Museum Art Center), simply just called the Reina Sofía

The Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid

These past two weeks, museums all over the world seem to be at risk of having their collections damaged. Of course, there was the man who threw cake at the Mona Lisa, followed by a break-in at the Dallas Museum of Art, where an intruder damaged several ancient Greek ceramic pieces. And now, this newest incident came out of Madrid. The Spanish capital has three major museums, all located along a ¾-mile stretch of the Paseo del Prado in the city center. While the Prado Museum houses a magnificent collection of Spanish Old Masters like Francisco de Goya and Diego Velázquez, the Reina Sofía Museum is known for its more modern works by Picasso, Dalí, and Miró. Meanwhile, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum holds everything in between, and is often overlooked in favor of its bigger siblings. However, this week’s latest accident took place at the Reina Sofía.

The museum opened in 1992 and was named in honor of Sofía, who was Queen of Spain and is the mother of the current king, Felipe VI. Fun fact, she’s also the first cousin once removed to the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Madrid museum that bears her name is most famous for housing Pablo Picasso’s monumental work Guernica. While the Picasso works are undamaged, an Italian tourist did have a bit of an accident near a set of stage decorations on display. The scenery was created by the painter Alberto Sánchez for the 1933 premiere of Gustavo Pittaluga’s ballet La romería de los cornudos (The Pilgrimage of the Cuckolds). While trying to take a selfie with the set in the background, the tourist stepped up onto the platform upon which the work was situated. Though very large, the set decoration was made only of watercolor on paper set on a frame. So when she held onto part of the set, it ripped very easily. Thankfully, the museum later stated that the damage was minor and that the work could be back on display as early as Friday. Though the museum informed the police of the incident, this seems like an honest accident (unlike the Dallas incident).