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Titian masterpiece stays in the UK

A masterpiece by Titian which was created for the Spanish King, Philip II, has been bought for £45 million in order to keep it in Britain.

The oil painting was created in the 1500’s but has been in the UK for over 200 years.

The masterpiece is called Diana and Callisto and is one of six paintings that was created for the Spanish King in the 16th century. The National Gallery was involved in a fund raising campaign which saw the money being raised to purchase painting.

The oil painting is going to be on show with its companion painting; Diana and Actaeon. The two paintings are going to be shared by the National Gallery of Scotland, as well as the National Gallery in London.

The director of the National Gallery is Nicholas Penny who commented, “These two paintings are regarded as some of the best paintings held by private collectors in this country. It is wonderful that we have been able to purchase them for the public’s enjoyment, even in these times of economic decline.”

The National Gallery contributed £25 million to the purchase of the painting and the money has come from its financial reserves. Other partners contributing funds to the purchase of the painting include; the Heritage Lottery fund, Getty Contributions, and the Art Fund. There were also significant private contributions towards its purchase.

The Duke of Sutherland was the previous owner of Diana and Actaeon and he sold the painting to the gallery in 2009 for around £50 million. While a lot of money, this figure was significantly below the market value of the painting.

He was asking for a similar amount for the second painting, Diana and Callisto, and gave the galleries until 2012 to raise the money. In order for the paintings to remain in the country he did however agreed to reduce the asking price by over £5 million.

Starting today, the painting is going on display in London for a year and a half. After this it is going to be displayed in Scotland for a year, and then it will return to London again. It is expected that the painting will cycle like this for a long time to come.

John Leighton is the director of the gallery in Scotland and he has said, “The threat of this painting being purchased by an overseas buyer was very real and for us at the gallery we are delighted to hear that the painting will remain in the UK.

We are pleased that the painting is going to be joining some of our other fantastic works in the near future. As of today, these wonderful paintings belong to the country and its people. Personally, I am delighted that the works are going to be available to provide inspiration to people for decades to come.”

Jeremy Hunt, the culture Secretary has commented, “This piece of art is absolutely breathtaking, it is a beautiful painting. I am enormously grateful to both the National Gallery, as well as other donors who made purchasing this painting possible. The fact that it is going to remain in the UK is wonderful news and I’m looking forward to the public being able to see it.”


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