The former director of the Prado, Alfonso Perez Sanchez, 68, was awarded the prize of the Fundacion of the Amigos del Museo del Prado in October. The ceremony took place in the Velasquez galleries of the museum, which at present are empty while the building is being enlarged. The speech was made by the Naples-based art historian, Nicola Spinosa, who praised Perez Sanchez’ deep knowledge of 17th-century Italian art. The director of the Prado, Miguel Zugaza, also made a speech, while Mr Perez Sanchez spoke with emotion of the 30 years he had spent at the museum “which I served with all my might. I learnt nearly all that I know here, and here is where my love of art was consolidated”. Mr Perez Sanchez did not mention that he was summarily sacked by the Ministry of Culture in 1991 for having signed a petition by intellectuals against the first war in Iraq.