• BIC. A Botticelli painting declared "good of cultural interest" leaves Spain to be sold
  • Previous.Jaime Botín: 'It's my painting. It is not national heritage and I can do what I want with it '

The news that Sandro Botticelli's painting 'Portrait of Michele Marullo Tarcaniota' will leave Spain to be sold in London, despite being protected as a Property of Cultural Interest (BIC) , has opened a debate on the scope of this type of Safeguards The painting, which was acquired by the Catalan politician (and, later, Franco) Francisco Cambó (1876-1947) in 1929, will occupy the 'stand' of the Trinity Fine Art gallery at the Frieze Masters fair, which is held from 3 to October 6 in London.

Before the alarm caused by the possibility that the work moves away from our country forever, Government sources indicated that the cataloging as BIC implies that the painting "will never be able to disassociate itself from Spain . " But what exactly does that mean?

Expert sources in Historical Heritage of the Ministry of Culture and Sports explain that, although the work is not exportable, "a five-year, extendable permit" can be granted. In that period, "the work must return to Spain or renew its permit". The advisory body responsible for renewing or denying such permission is the existing Board of qualification within the ministry and which reports to the General Director of Fine Arts. "The State thus maintains some control over the pieces, " they point out from Culture.

It is that meeting that determines whether, for example, a work can travel or not for a temporary assignment (for example, to a museum on the occasion of an exhibition) and the conditions under which it must travel: "If those conditions are not met , it can be considered illegal traffic , according to Royal Decree 111/1986, and would become the property of the State. " In any case, the new owner "must inform" of the situation of the piece at all times.

A case that gives clues about what could happen is what happened with the banker Jaime Botín, brother of Emilio Botín , who in 2015 tried to take out of Spain, through a luxury sailboat, a picture of his property ('Woman's Head Joven ', by Picasso), also protected. The Prosecutor requested four years in jail and 100 million euros after accusing him of a crime of contraband and the painting was deposited in the Reina Sofía Museum. "It is my painting. It is not national heritage and I can do what I want with it ," Botín told the New York Times.

Official sources of Culture rule out that the State intends to acquire the piece, since, "for the moment, there is no offer" by the heirs of Cambó, among which is the former politician (Convergència i Unió) and former director General of the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), Ignasi Guardans.

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