The campaign to raise £2.7million so save The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Brueghel the Younger has reached just under £900,000 as the painting returns to Yorkshire to go on display at York Art Gallery on 17 November 2010.
The painting, the star attraction at the National Trusts Nostell Priory & Parkland, has been on display at the National Gallery for a month where it has been seen by almost half a million people and is now returning to Yorkshire for the next phase of the fundraising campaign where it can be enjoyed by the people of Yorkshire.
The National Trust and the Art Fund jointly launched a £2.7million fundraising campaign to raise the money and save this iconic Old Master painting for the nation by Christmas. The Art Fund kick-started the campaign with a donation of £500,000.
The Procession to Calvary is one of the most important attractions at Nostell Priory & Parkland in Yorkshire, owned by the National Trust since 1954, where it has hung for over 200 years. Now, however, the painting, which is still owned by Lord St Oswald, has been put up for sale, with the risk that Nostells greatest work will no longer be accessible to the public.
Completed in 1602, and amongst Brueghel the Youngers finest works, The Procession to Calvary shows Christ carrying the cross on the way to his crucifixion. He is surrounded by over two hundred figures in a vibrant narrative, set in a contemporary Flemish landscape.
The painting includes a host of carefully observed individual portraits: religious figures, peasants, children, animals, gentry and soldiers. Remarkable for both its compositional dexterity and its detailed characterisations, the picture also includes ambiguous social and political narratives: The Procession to Calvary is one of Brueghels most intriguing and fascinating works.
Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: The response weve received to keep the Brueghel in Yorkshire at Nostell Priory, its home for the last two hundred years, has been phenomenal. One of the unique aspects of Nostell is that the majority of its historical collections are intact and still in the setting for which they were acquired. We are very grateful to the Art Fund and York Art Gallery for their support with the campaign to help us keep the Brueghel at Nostell forever.
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: Raising money to save works of art sits at the heart of what the Art Fund is all about and we very much urge all art lovers and those who have a fondness for Nostell to donate to this campaign and ensure that this remarkable painting remains where it belongs for all to enjoy.
Janet Barnes, Chief Executive of York Museums Trust, said: "We are delighted to be able to support this appeal and showcase this fantastic painting by Breughel to our visitors. It is a marvellous painting and the star attraction at Nostell Priory. We hope that by showing it here in York we can help raise awareness of the Art Fund's work as well as helping to secure this painting for Yorkshire so that it can be enjoyed for years to come."
To discover more about The Procession to Calvary and to make a donation to the appeal, visit www.artfund.org/procession
or telephone 0844 415 4004. Please send cheques, made payable to the Art Fund, to The Art Fund, Freepost SN1457, Halifax Road, MELKSHAM, SN12 7BR.