LONDON.- The National Gallery
is asking for the publics help to raise the last £2 million it needs to buy a painting of outstanding importance for the national heritage - The Finding of Moses by Orazio Gentileschi (early 1630s) and enable the work to stay on free public display in Trafalgar Square and continue to inspire future generations.
The Finding of Moses has a remarkable place in British history. It is one of just a handful of works painted during Orazio Gentileschis 12-year residence in London at the court of King Charles I, commissioned to celebrate the birth of the future Charles II and intended to hang in the Queens House at Greenwich. There is currently only one* Orazio Gentileschi work in a UK public collection, and The Finding of Moses plays an important role in the National Gallery, being intrinsically linked to our recently acquired painting by Orazios daughter Artemisia (Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria).
The Finding of Moses has been on generous long-term loan to the National Gallery from a private collection for almost twenty years so long that many people assume it already forms part of the national collection. It has been the subject of talks, exhibitions, publications and educational activities, and is a focal point of the Italian Baroque gallery where it is displayed alongside masterpieces by artists such as Caravaggio and Guido Reni.
The beauty and refinement of The Finding of Moses are characteristic of the artists late style, but it is the paintings monumental scale (measuring 257 x 301cm), extraordinary ambition and historical importance that sets The Finding of Moses apart.
The painting has been an acquisition priority for the National Gallery since 1995, when we first attempted to buy it, and we have until the end of the year to purchase The Finding of Moses. If we are unable to buy the painting, it may be lost to the nation.
The full cost of The Finding of Moses is £22 million; however, the net cost to the National Gallery is £19,471,340 by a private treaty sale arranged through Sothebys and Pyms Gallery.
As a charity, the National Gallery depends upon public generosity to help it achieve great things and so is working hard to raise the money required to buy The Finding of Moses for the nation.
We are enormously grateful for exceptional grants of £2.5 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and £1 million from Art Fund which have already been secured.
Stephen Deuchar, Director of Art Fund, said, The Finding of Moses is one of the National Gallerys most precious long-term loans and its prospective sale provides the Gallery with an important opportunity. My trustees have committed £1m, one of our largest grants to date, towards the acquisition and we hope that other funders and members of the public will feel as strongly about playing a part big or small - in saving this masterpiece for everyone to enjoy in the national collection.
£8.5 million is coming from The American Friends of the National Gallery, London with £5 million from The National Gallery Trust.
A further £500,000 of gifts left in wills left to the National Gallery is also being used towards the acquisition.
This leaves £2 million the Gallery needs to raise from individuals, trusts, and our public to ensure The Finding of Moses remains on free display for future generations to enjoy.
Launching the #SaveOrazio Appeal by hosting The Finding of Moses storytelling session with a group of children from the Soho Family Centre, National Gallery Director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, said, If the National Gallery succeeds in buying the painting, it will be here for everyone to enjoy for generations to come. The Finding of Moses will have found its definitive audience among the nations pictures.