LONDON.- A £1million donation to the campaign to save Titians Diana and Actaeon, one of the greatest paintings in private ownership, is announced today (Tuesday 14 October) with an exceptional grant from The Art Fund, the UKs leading independent art charity. The grant, the first to be publicly pledged, is the largest ever donation to a single work of art in The Art Funds 105 year history.
The charity hopes that other funding bodies will come together to raise the full amount within the 12 week deadline of 31 December 2008. If this effort fails there is absolutely no guarantee that this work will remain on public view in this country or abroad.
David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: This painting can and must be saved. In the current climate it will be difficult, but we managed to save Titians Vendramin Family and the Wilton Diptych during the depression just as great a challenge. Today we have put our money on the table. Now others must come together if this extraordinarily important painting is to be kept where it belongs.
John Leighton, Director General of the National Galleries of Scotland , said: This very generous donation from The Art Fund is a huge boost to our effort to keep this masterpiece on public view and to secure the future of the world-famous Bridgewater Collection. We are enormously grateful to The Art Fund for their enthusiastic support.
Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, said: Fear that these supreme masterpieces by Titian might leave these shores was a major factor in the foundation of The Art Fund and it is highly appropriate that the Fund should be the first to support our campaign to acquire them. We are deeply grateful to the Fund and to all its members for what they are doing for both National Galleries.
Titians Diana and Actaeon is on offer at a significantly reduced price of £50million to National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery in London from the Bridgewater collection, which has been on loan to the National Galleries of Scotland since 1945. This is the most important private collection of Old Master paintings on loan to an institution in the UK and counts among the most important anywhere in the world.
The owner has offered the Galleries the opportunity to acquire two masterpieces from the collection on extremely generous terms: Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto, both by Titian. The two Titians are arguably the finest works in the Bridgewater Loan. They were both painted as part of a cycle of works for Philip II of Spain and they represent a highpoint in Italian Renaissance art. If successful in acquiring Diana and Actaeon, the two Galleries will be granted an option, exercisable at any point up until the end of 2012, to acquire the second picture, Diana and Callisto, for a similar amount.