José Luis Díez

JANUARY 14, 2020

Conference given by José Luis Díez that starts off the cycle “Masaveu Collection 19th century Spanish painting. From Goya to modernism”. The presentation analyzed the artistic context of the first half of the 19th century, through a selection of works present in the first block of the temporary exhibition. This cycle of conferences was directed by the curator of the exhibition, Javier Barón.

This activity took place at 7:00 p.m. in the María Cristina Masaveu Auditorium of the FMCMP headquarters in Madrid.


José Luis Díez (Madrid, 1960) holds a PhD in Art History from the Complutense University of Madrid, is a career civil servant in the Spanish Museum’s Curators State Service and a full scholar in the Spanish Royal History Academy.

He joined the Museo del Prado in 1988 and worked there as a professional and scientist until 2014, gaining 26 years of experience in this institution managing particularly complex and extensive art collections as the Head of Conservation of the 19th-Century Painting collections. From 2002 to 2006, he served as the Deputy General Director of Conservation at the Museo del Prado and was in charge of launching and promoting the Museum’s different technical areas and enhancing its human teams. Between 2006 and 2014, he returned to his position as Head of Conservation of the 19th-Century Painting collections at the Museo Nacional del Prado.

From the beginning, his scientific career has been characterised by studies of artists associated with the Crown, and he devoted his doctoral thesis to the Valencian artist Vicente López, the First Chamber Painter of Ferdinand VII and Isabel II. He was also the scientific director of major exhibitions devoted to other great 19th-century masters who served the Royal House, such as Federico de Madrazo (Museo del Prado, 1994) and José de Madrazo (Fundación Marcelino Botín, 1998).

In 1992, he directed the most ambitious restoration campaign of 19th-century painting undertaken in Spain until then as the curator of the exhibition La pintura de Historia del siglo XIX en España (‘History Painting of the 19th Century in Spain’) (Museo del Prado. Galleries of the former Spanish Contemporary Art Museum [MEAC], 1992). At the time, it was a true challenge because of the complexity of the logistics, as well as a crucial milestone in the revival of this genre in studies of Spanish painting from this period.

He has also served as the technician in charge of several particularly challenging projects on works of art, such as moving Picasso’s Guernica from the Museo del Prado to the Museo Reina Sofía (1992) and the restoration of the paintings on the hemicycle in the Congress of Deputies (1996).

He was the curator of the exhibition Cánovas y la Restauración (‘Cánovas and the Restoration’) (Madrid. Centro Cultural del Conde Duque, 1997), which examined the reinstatement of the monarchy in Spain with Alphonse XII. This show entailed introducing a new format different to the traditional model of the exhibitions until then, for which he was bestowed the commandry of the Civil Order of Alphonse X.

Among the latest exhibitions he has organised, he served as the curator and scientific director of the large anthological show on the master Joaquín Sorolla (1863–1923) held at the Museo del Prado between May and September 2009. He is a member of the boards of directors of the Amatller Institute of Spanish Art in Barcelona and the Foundation of Spanish Art in Madrid and is an honorary board member of the Sorolla Museum Foundation in Madrid.

On 8 January 2010, he was unanimously elected to be a full scholar of the Royal History Academy. He officially joined this organisation on 6 June of the same year with the speech entitled La pintura isabelina. Arte y política (‘Isabelline Painting. Art and Politics’), in which he performed an in-depth analysis of the role of the Crown in the patronage and promotion of the arts during the reign of Isabel II.

In April 2014, he was appointed Director of the National Heritage Royal Collections, leading him to oversee projects like the museological project of the future Royal Collections Museum, the gradual renovation of the museum facilities at the different Royal Sites and the scientific direction of the National Heritage exhibition programme, including the following shows: Portraiture in the Royal Collections. From Juan de Flandes to Antonio López (2014), Contemporary Palace Art. Painting and Sculpture from the Royal Collections (2015–2016), From Caravaggio to Bernini. Masterpieces from Italy’s Seicento in the Royal Collections (Madrid, 2016, Rome, 2017), Charles III. Majesty and Sumptuousness Surrounding the Enlightened King (2016–2017), Letters to the King. The Humanitarian Mediation of Alphonse XIII during the Great War (2018–2019), and La otra Corte. Mujeres de la Casa de Austria en los Monasterios Reales de las Descalzas y la Encarnación (‘The Other Court. Hapsburg Women in the Royal Monasteries of Las Descalzas Reales and La Encarnación’) (2019–2020).

In December 2015, he was bestowed the commandry of the Order of Isabel the Catholic, and in 2017 he was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France.

Sorolla: 350 x 280

January 28, 2020
Sorolla.The triumph of colour and light (III)

February 4, 2020
Modernism and Postmodernism in Catalonia (IV)