CONSIDERED the finest work by the Italian Baroque master Domenico Zampieri, Il Domenichino (1581-1641), in private hands, this painting of St John the Evangelist has been saved for the nation. It has gone on display in the National Gallery's Baroque rooms.
The Domenichino was sold at Christie's Old Masters sale on
December 8 for £8.2m (plus 12% buyer's premium) to an American
buyer (a sale overshadowed at the time by the mighty £26m bid for
the Raphael drawing Head of a Muse), but an export licence
was deferred by the Reviewing Committee on the basis of its history
in this country.
St John was painted for the Giustiniani collection in Rome in
the 1620s but had been owned for more than a century by the
Christie family of Glyndebourne opera fame.
The National Gallery itself is still recovering from the titanic
effort of buying the Duke of Sutherland's Diana and
Actaeon by Titian with the National Gallery of Scotland, but
an anonymous collector has stepped in to make the purchase.
Rules allow private offers if public access is available to
artworks for 100 days within a 12-month period.
The buyer has now loaned it to the National Gallery for the next
18 months and agreed the picture will be put on public display for
three months every year.
By Roland Arkell
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.