Culture Minister defers export of monumental painting by Italian master Domenichino
22 February 2010
Culture Minister, Margaret Hodge, has placed a temporary export bar on a painting by Domenico Zampieri, Saint John the Evangelist. This will provide a last chance to raise the money to keep this remarkable painting in the United Kingdom.
The Minister’s ruling follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). The Committee recommended that the export decision be deferred on the grounds that the painting is of outstanding aesthetic importance.
Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641), known as Il Domenichino, was one of the most important Italian artists of the seventeenth century, celebrated for his religious compositions. Saint John the Evangelist is a key masterpiece which epitomises the grandeur and nobility of Roman Baroque painting. The saint, author of the fourth gospel, is shown in a moment of revelation, his pen poised, his eyes lifted towards the source of his inspiration. The painting is striking for its monumental size, its arresting composition, the inspired expression of the Saint’s countenance, and the splendour of the colouring, particularly the rich red of his robe. It is related to Domenichino’s great pendentive frescoes in the Roman Church of S. Andrea della Valle (1624-25) which had a strong influence on later European artists.
Originally painted for a Roman collector, the work entered the UK in the early nineteenth century and has been part of two notable English collections. In the 20th century it hung in the organ room at Glyndebourne, East Sussex.
Professor David Ekserdjian, Reviewing Committee member, said:
“Although Domenichino is well-represented in UK collections, none of those other paintings can match the grandeur and sheer physical force of Saint John the Evangelist. It is the best work by the artist remaining in private hands and its departure from the UK would be lamentable.“
The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 21 April inclusive. This period may be extended until 21 August inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase the painting at the recommended price of £9,225,250 (excluding VAT) is expressed.
Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by Minister Margaret Hodge. Such purchases frequently offer substantial financial benefit to both parties by the sharing of tax advantages.
Anyone interested in making an offer to purchase the painting should contact the owner’s agent through:
The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest
Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
Wellcome Wolfson Building
165 Queen’s Gate
Telephone 020 7273 8270
Notes to Editors
- For all media enquiries please contact Senior Media Relations Adviser, Sunita Sharma, on 020 7273 8299, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For enquiries on the operation of and casework arising from the work of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA) please contact Frances Wilson, RCEWA Secretary, on 020 7273 8270, email email@example.com.
- The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest is an independent body, serviced by MLA, which advises the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on whether a cultural object, intended for export, is of national importance under specified criteria. Where the Committee finds that an object meets one or more of the criteria, it will normally recommend that the decision on the export licence application should be deferred for a specified period. An offer may then be made from within the United Kingdom at or above the fair market price.
- The details of the painting are:
Domenicho Zampieri, Il Domenichino (Bologna 1581-1641 Naples)
Saint John the Evangelist
Oil on canvas
259 199.4 cm
- Further details about the painting can be found in the auction catalogue on Christies website.
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