This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Today, the world of (Basque, Spanish, and international) culture was surprised by the announcement made by the current director of the Prado Museum, Miguel Zugaza, to leave his post in 2017, and take over curation of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.

The influence these past 15 years of this Basque’s management of the most important museum in the Kingdom of Spain, and one of the “Big 7” internationally, is extraordinary.  This assessment of his work is proven when we stop to think how he’s managed to maintain this museum’s level despite all the changes in government that have happened during his tenure.

Curiously, the same day that his decision was made public, the Financial Times printed a long article/interview with Zugaza, discussing imprint his curation has had on the success and international projection of the museum.  Zugaza’s decision was not mentioned in the article penned by Tobias Buck a few days ago, which speaks to the prudence of the Prado’s still-current director, although we don’t know (but can imagine) how the journalist and his paper are feeling right now.

When Zugaza announced his departure from the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum 15 years ago to go to Madrid, we understood the decision, even though we had misgivings, as his managment of the Basque cultural institution had been clearly positive and beneficial.

If we had known that after fifteen years (and what marvellously well-run 15 years they’ve been) he would leave the Prado to return to Bilbao, we would have easily understood a massive demonstration in Abando train station, just like those held at the beginning of the 20th century when the negotiators for the Economic Concert left among cheers to travel to Madrid.

Why?  Because today, many thousands of people around the world are wondering what the museum in the Basque city of Bilbao has that would make the undisputed curator of one of the most prestigious museums in the world would choose it.

The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, the city of Bilbao, and all the Basques together have scored another hit, one that goes beyond what having a great curator with the technical, management, and human skills like Miguel Zugaza might mean.

Many may not see how big of a success this is, or may see this as too “subtle” and unmeasurable.  For us, it’s a huge push for Bilbao, which is going to see very positive consequences of this in the medium and long term.

When he arrives in 2017, he’ll be replacing another wonderful curator, Javier Viar, who’s retiring.  We’re sure that Miguel Zugaza is going to give this cultural institution another push.  We may not have waved him off fifteen years ago when he went to Madrid, but we hope that upon his return, he’s as warmly received as he deserves.

Financial Times – 30/11/2016 – Gran Bretaña

Behind the scenes at Madrid’s Prado museum

The first thing that surprises about Miguel Zugaza is his office. The director of the Madrid Prado works not from the palatial building that houses Spain’s greatest art museum, but from an anonymous block across the road. His modest office is filled with books and catalogues, and decorated with a handful of modern drawings. But there is nothing here that hints at the splendour of the collection he has stewarded since 2002.

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The Art Newspaper – 30/11/2016 – USA

Museo del Prado’s director Miguel Zugaza steps down after 15 years

The director of the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Miguel Zugaza, is to leave next year to return to his previous role in charge of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. In a resignation letter addressed to Spain’s minister of education, culture and sport, Zuzaga said that after 15 years he “considers the goals established during [his] term of office to have been fulfilled”.

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FOX latino – 30711/2016 – USA

Director of Madrid’s Prado Museum returning to post as head of Bilbao museum

Spain’s Prado Museum says director Miguel Zugaza will end his 15-year successful run at the renowned gallery next year. The museum said Wednesday that Zugaza had told the Culture Ministry he felt he has completed his mission and intends to return to his previous post as director of Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum.

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Milenio – 30/11/2016 – México

Tras 15 años, renuncia director del Museo del Prado

Miguel Zugaza abandonará la dirección del Museo del Prado en 2017, cuando se cumplan 15 años en el cargo, y regresará al Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, según anunció hoy él mismo a la Comisión Permanente del Real Patronato.

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MSN – 30/11/2016 -USA

After 15 Years, Prado Director to Return to Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

Spain’s Prado Museum says director Miguel Zugaza will end his 15-year successful run at the renowned gallery next year. The museum said Wednesday that Zugaza had told the Culture Ministry he felt he has completed his mission and intends to return to his previous post as director of Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum.

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