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Madrid Helping Residents And Visitors Cool Down Amid Climate Crisis With Engaging Cultural Displays 

Summer temperatures have been impacting the entire world in recent weeks. In Spain’s capital of Madrid, temperatures have been hitting 106 degrees (F), making it uncomfortable for residents and visitors throughout the day. Now, in a new program called Refúgiate En La Cultura (Take Shelter in Culture), people can cool off from the summer heat in multiple air conditioned museums while being presented with amazing cultural displays.

Prado Museum In Madrid

Lost Caravaggio Painting, That Was Previously Misidentified, To Be Shown At Prado Museum In Madrid

A lost Caravaggio painting depicting a suffering Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns is set to go on display at the Prado Museum in Madrid. The painting itself made headlines a few years ago after it was misattributed and almost sold for €1,500 (about $1,600).

The Ecce Homo measures 111 centimeters by 86 centimeters and was initially attributed to the 17th-century Spanish artist José de Ribera in April 2021 when it was offered for sale at a Madrid auction house, according to reports. Art experts in Spain and Italy, however, were led to re-examine the work due to its luminous quality. 

Experts from the Prado Museum contacted Spain’s culture ministry once collectors around the world heard about the painting’s potential mystery painter. The ministry ordered an export ban for the painting and gave it a protected heritage status so that it would stay in Spain. 

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The Prado stated on Monday that The Ecce Homo will be on display in the museum from May 28th until October of this year. Miguel Falomir, the Prado’s director, stated that the museum has been working with the painting’s newest owner to restore the piece and figure out how its traveled since its creation. 

The painting was purchased from a family that had owned it for generations by an anonymous purchaser for an undisclosed sum, according to the museum.

“We’ve discovered that this is indeed a Caravaggio, and a painting that was brought to Spain in the 17th century and attributed to the Italian painter,” said Falomir. 

“During the Napoleonic invasion, it left the royal collection and it had been in a private family collection in Madrid since the 19th century. The family recently decided to sell the picture to a private buyer, and this person became interested in exhibiting this very important work at the Prado.”

Falomir stated his excitement for the work to be on display in the museum for the public and critics to enjoy. 

“It’s an enormous opportunity and one we’re thrilled about. We’re also celebrating the fact that this great work of art will stay in Spain and become part of Spain’s culture,” he said. 

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The Prado currently has one Caravaggio on display, David with the Head of Goliath, which was initially painted in Rome around 1600 when the artist was 30-years-old. The Prado’s head of pre-1800 Italian and French painting, David García Cueto, expressed his excitement to have a second Caravaggio on display in their museum. 

“By then [1600], he [Caravaggio] had achieved a stylistic maturity through his refined use of light and shade that allowed him to capture reality in a close-up manner,” said García Cueto. 

“Caravaggio’s stylistic evolution in the last 10 years of his life was pretty innovative, expressionistic, free and striking. The Ecce Homo, painted around 1607-1610, offers a complementary vision of Caravaggio’s late work and condenses the best of the master’s style in his final years,” he stated. 

Massimo Pulini, an art historian and professor at the Bologna Fine Arts Academy, told the Guardian that he was able to identify the painting as a Caravaggio when one of his colleagues in the antique industry sent him a photo. 

“When I saw the painting, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The impact was so immediate that I instantly knew this was a Caravaggio. It was like meeting someone on the street who you haven’t seen for a long time. It’s difficult to explain what happens in certain moments when, in a millisecond, you have such an impression. It’s often a question of instinct,” said Pulini.

Madrid Spain

Highly-Anticipated Hotel In Madrid Opens Its Doors To A Struggling Tourism Market

Madrid made headlines this week after announcing the opening of its first grand hotel in nearly 50 years. The hotel itself is a luxury Four Seasons establishment that took nearly a decade to complete.

Historic Mausoleum

Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco’s Body To Be Removed From Historic Mausoleum

MADRID – General Francisco Franco’s body is set to be exhumed from the Catholic basilica, “the Valley of the Fallen”, just outside Madrid. Spain’s Supreme Court made the final verdict this past Tuesday after decade long debates that have divided the nation. Franco was known for being extremely right-wing and nationalist, which makes sense considering he was a dictator. He entered into the famous mausoleum after his death in 1975 and after his political prisoners were done building his “final” resting place, or so he thought. The mausoleum also is the mass grave site of victims from the Spanish Civil War, which occurred during Franco’s reign. 

“We are very proud of removing the remains of the dictator from the mausoleum 40 years later, complying with what was approved by the UN and the Spanish congress,” Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Carmen Calvo, said Tuesday to CNN

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Spanish military dictator General Francisco Franco (1892 – 1975)

The grave site has become a massive tourist attraction within the past decade and has also been the sight of celebrations from far-right sympathizers who tend to gather at the mausoleum every November 20th, also the anniversary of Franco’s death. The Spanish government has been attempting to remove his body from the historic grave site for years, and are ready to do it as soon as possible. Government officials want the site to be remembered more for the victims, not the individual who caused their deaths in the first place, additionally, the far-right crowd that it draws isn’t ideal, to say the least. 

The Franco family requested that the body of the dictator now be moved to the Cathedral of La Almudena in central Madrid, however, the request was denied. Instead, the remains will be taken to the Mingorrubio cemetery just north of Madrid, where his wife was also buried. The next step the Spanish government must take is getting approval from the Church in order to enter the basilica. “The Valley of the Fallen” was closed off to the public back in 2009 due to preservation issues, but was reopened in 2012 for an increased entry fee. Different areas of the mausoleum are still closed off to the public for protective purposes, so exhuming a whole body is going to be quite the process to get approved. 

It’s currently unclear if they government will be able to get approval by the next election on November 10th, but they are working as quickly as possible, as they’re all eager to remove Franco’s body, even the more conservative members. Franco ruled in Spain from the late 1930’s until his death in 1975. Under his rule, about 61,000 individuals were executed during his extremely nationalist regime, this time period was known as the “Red Terror” in Spain, due to the large amounts of blood that stained the city streets during this regime. He was excluded from the United Nations after World War II, when they declared that he was one of the last dictators still alive and running a government post-Hitler. He was redeemed partially for his extremely anti-communist policies during the Cold War, but overall, no one would ever be able to get passed the sociopath dictator rulings. 

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El Valle de los Caídos (The Valley of the Fallen)

The exhumation of his body has been a debate for decades, and a legal issue since 2011. Spanish commissioners who were backed by the United Nations called for his bodies removal back in 2011, however, in November of that year the Conservative Popular Party was elected into power, and they ignored the request. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez made the key policy change to exhume the body and made it a royal decree in August of 2018. Unfortunately the upcoming election taking place on November 10th is due to the fact that Sanchez failed to receive enough support from parliament, making unclear as to when the actual removal of the body will take place, however, it will still be taking place. 

According to CNN, “in 2007, the Spanish government passed the Law of Historical Memory, which formally condemns the Franco regime and bans political events at the Valley of the Fallen. It also recognizes the victims of the civil war under the Franco Regime and pledges aid to those victims and their descendants.”

It was this law that continued to inspire Spain’s citizens and government to work hard to remove the last remaining stain that attaches Spain to such a dark time period. This is viewed by the Spanish Supreme Court as a win for everybody.