ESPERANZA NAVARRETE Y ALEJANDRO MARTÍNEZ (eds)
Heritage in Conflict. Memory of recovered Napoleonic booty (1815-1819)
Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando and Diputación Foral de Álava
235 × 170 mm
Heritage in Conflict. Memory of recovered Napoleonic booty (1815-1819) is a compendium of essays on the status of Spanish cultural heritage after the War of Independence. The publication proposes a historical analysis of its political and economic value, which brings us closer to the heart of the conflict and addresses the role of foreign policy, diplomatic work, the legal protection of heritage, the origin and function of state museums and, in short, the propagandistic and symbolic value of works of art in the context of a government discourse on national identity.
Almost two hundred years ago the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando received at its headquarters a group of paintings that had left Spain during the War of Independence. The works crossed the border into France as spoils of war or were plundered as private property by Bonapartist army commanders.
The return of part of this treasure was not a spontaneous episode on the part of the French monarchy, but the result of a political process in which French diplomatic and cultural forces intervened. The paintings did not arrive in optimal conditions of conservation, as they suffered the effects of inexperience and greed, as well as the consequences of inclement weather, and of crossings by land and sea. These works came from royal collections, aristocratic families and religious communities, which were thus able to recover part of their cultural heritage.
This book provides new information and clarifies the events related to the aforementioned historical episode, while at the same time recounting the active participation in it of the military man and diplomat Miguel Ricardo de Álava.
A choral work made up of seven contributions that offer complementary perspectives from approaches ranging from the history of art to political-military history or the restoration and conservation of cultural assets, broadening knowledge of this episode in history. The book brings together contributions by Leopoldo Stampa Piñeiro (Spanish Ambassador), Gonzalo Serrats Urrecha (Arriola-Urrecha Archive), Esperanza Navarrete Martínez (San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts), Alejandro Martínez Pérez (PhD in Art History), Ana González Mozo (Museo Nacional del Prado), Pierre Géal (Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3) and Guillaume Kientz (Musée du Louvre).
More information on the RABASF website