Antonio Bonet Correa, leader in the History of Art and the defense of Heritage

The world of art, culture in general and all those interested in the landscape of cities are deeply saddened by the unfortunate loss of the academic and art critic Dr. D. Antonio Bonet Correa at the age of 94, a of the most important figures in the history of art in Spain. The entire national press collects the news of his death this Friday in Madrid and reports on his fruitful academic and professional life, his numerous titles, positions and honors, as professor emeritus of Art History at the Complutense University of Madrid, president of honor of the Spanish Committee of Art History, honorary patron of the Friends of the Prado Museum Foundation, director of the Royal Academy of San Fernando between 2009 and 2015, and since then, honorary director of the same.

His work as a professor of Art History has left a very deep mark on all those who have been his students at the different universities and centers where he taught and directed doctoral theses. His research in this field has been fundamental, especially in referring to the knowledge of Spanish and American Baroque, from his thesis: «Architecture in Galicia in the 17th century». His work on the Plaza Mayor in Madrid is an obligatory reference for all students of art and cities, as is his manual, “The keys to urban planning”, Madrid, editorial Ariel 1989, or “The City of the Future”, collective work in which I act as editor, director and co-author with a contribution, “The ideal city: reality and utopia”, Madrid, IE, 2009. It was precisely this interest in cities and heritage, from the history of art and geography, which facilitated our knowledge from many years ago and which led us to many conversations on topics related to them and to some collaborations, including at UNED.

However, at a time like this, in pain at the loss of the teacher, the academic, the friend, it seems necessary to me to also emphasize his commitment to society in the defense of heritage values ​​throughout his entire academic career, thus as his love and commitment to Toledo, which, paradoxically and casually, led us again to coincide in the act of our appointment as corresponding academics of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Historical Sciences of Toledo on October 1, 2006 , brilliantly directed at that time by Dr. D. Ramón Gonzálvez. I think that Toledo’s public opinion must be aware of the very important role played by Dr. Bonet Correa personally in the defense of the Vega Baja. Their opinions and academic prestige, recognized by the president of the CCLM at that time, Mr. Barreda, were decisive in paralyzing the urban development “Vega Baja I” in July 2006, after the repeated and continuous pressure of the same time at the time. by local and national cultural institutions, including the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and the Royal Geographical Society.

Since then, Professor Bonet followed with special attention and concern the subsequent attempts to continue the urbanization of the Vega Baja, as well as the process of deterioration of nearby spaces of environmental quality in the contact area between the platform of the crystalline massif and the bottom of the Tagus Valley, within the Toledo municipality. He was also promptly informed and concerned about the expansion of Santa Teresa, denounced along with other events, by members of the platform “Toledo, Society, Heritage and Culture” before the Ministry of Culture, which motivated the latest reports from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and ICOMOS for the protection and conservation of the heritage values ​​of the Vega Baja.

With his death, Spanish culture loses the vigor and strength of a «94-year-old», who from his office as deputy director of honor of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, and before, from 2009 to 2015, as director, It contributed to revitalizing the social function of this institution, facilitated its projection on society as a whole and promoted improvements to the Museum of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando to bring it closer to a Spanish public not particularly knowledgeable of an exceptional museum by the works that he treasures and that is an international benchmark for art lovers, especially painting. But if Spain now regrets the death of Dr. Bonet Correa, so does Toledo, especially those of us who have known him, enjoyed his friendship and enjoyed his conversation and lively talk until a few months before his death, always with excellence. in the knowledge of the history of art and social responsibility in defense of the heritage, in our case, Toledo and very specifically in the defense of the Vega Baja. Therefore, these emotional and heartfelt parting words from a scholar, from a man of science who has advanced the history of art and the knowledge of cities through classrooms, research and from the institutions in which he has been present, they also want to be recognized and thanked from Toledo.

We do not doubt that Professor Bonet’s long and fruitful life at the service of culture will serve as an example for all in the defense of the heritage elements, among them the landscape, and their value in the service of society as a support for collective identities. . For all that, all of us who feel linked to culture and heritage, and those who have shared activities, experiences and feelings with him, pay tribute and thanks to him as a benchmark of Spanish culture and for his connection with Toledo as a corresponding academic. from its Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Historical Sciences. His work remains, his memory will always be present and his example of life will continue to be a stimulus for those of us who remain committed to preserving and defending the heritage values ​​of any place and especially of Toledo, our city. .

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