Wars and post-war periods have had fundamental consequences for the survival, destruction and relocation of works of art, with museums playing an undoubtedly important role. In the case of Spain, the Civil War (1936-39) involved the evacuation of a large number of pieces - including more than five hundred from the Museo del Prado - from Madrid to Valencia, then to Barcelona and northern Catalonia, and finally to Geneva at the end of the war. During Franco's immediate post-war period, tens of thousands of works, which had been stored by the Government of the Republic to protect them, were returned or given in deposit to numerous museums, institutions and even private individuals. These events were the starting point for the Museo del Prado - on the 200th anniversary of its foundation and the 80th anniversary of its evacuation during the war - to convene the international conference "Museum, war and post-war. Protection of heritage in wartime conflicts", which was held in October 2019.
The scope of this event went much further in both space and time, analysing international heritage issues from the Second World War (1939-45), during which many of the warring parties also evacuated their heritage, to the endangered situations in today's conflicts, which we are unfortunately still witnessing today.
The speakers invited to the conference - distinguished specialists and descendants of the protagonists of the rescue of heritage during the Civil War - belong to museums, universities and cultural and professional organisations from most of Spain's communities and, on an international scale, from France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the United States. Apart from the diverse origins of the authors - a reflection of the widespread interest in this subject - the papers and communications included in these proceedings are of great quality and variety, and will undoubtedly serve as a basis for future research.