365 Days of Art: December 24 – Las Meninas Saved from Fire; Over 500 Other Works Burned

Las Meninas, by Diego Velazquez, 1656
Las Meninas, by Diego Velazquez, 1656

December 24, 1734

Las Meninas by Velasquez is saved from a devastating fire by throwing it out the window. The fire at the Alcazar, where the Spanish royal family lives, originates in the rooms of French painter Jean Ranc. Alarm bells are mistaken for the call to Christmas Eve Mass, so the fire takes hold and burns for four days, completely destroying the Alcazar in the process. Many more artworks would have been lost, except that King Philip reorganizes and moves much of his art collection just before the fire.

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