Committee for the Requisition and Protection of the Artistic Patrimony (Junta de Incautación y Protección del Tesoro Artístico). March 1939. MNP.  Donation H. Contreras Chacel (2003)

As in other cities in Republican Spain, the military uprising in Madrid resulted in a wave of unchallenged destruction of ecclesiastical buildings and objects and the occupation of monasteries, palaces and other splendid buildings by workers’ organisations and military units. In order to avoid the serious risks that such occupations involved to these buildings and their contents, including works of art, libraries and archives, on 23 July 1936, five days after the outbreak of war, the State Office of Fine Arts (Dirección General de Bellas Artes) of the Ministry of Public Information set up a Committee for the Requisition and Protection of the Artistic Patrimony (Junta de Incautación y Protección del Tesoro Artístico) on the advice and instigation of the Alliance of Antifascist Intellectuals (Alianza de Intelectuales Antifasciastas). This was the origin of the various committees which were set up in different cities. From 1937 it came under the heading of the Central Committee (Junta Central) established in Valencia. The committee was made up of civil servants plus numerous volunteers and focused on the safeguarding of buildings and movable works of art and objects of value to the heritage, under both religious and secular ownership as well as public property, in particular museums.

 
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