The Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has ordered a temporary export ban on Raphael’s “Head of a Young Apostle”, (c. 1519-1520) a cartoon for one of the figures in the Transfiguration altarpiece housed in the Vatican. This is arguably one of the most highly regarded altarpieces in the world. Raphael is considered one of the greatest European draughtsman and the cartoon created for the Transfiguration is thought to be one of his most important and beautiful drawings.
The work was part of a collection at the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth House stately home in Derbyshire since the 1700s. It was sold by Sotheby’s at the end of 2012 for £29.7 million after competition between four aggressive bidders.
Originally collected by William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire (1672-1729) ,Raphael produced the highly detailed tonal drawings to act as guides for him and his workshop to paint the heads of key protagonists in his paintings. The study is a stunning example of this specialist type of drawing that beautifully demonstrates the signal importance of drawing in Raphael’s creative process.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “I hope that placing a temporary export bar on the Raphael will allow time for a UK buyer to come forward and secure this magnificent example of Raphael’s work for the nation. Last year the Ashmolean Museum pulled off an amazing coup in acquiring Manet’s “Mademoiselle Claus” which was similarly at risk of leaving our shores – I hope that this success can be repeated”.
The Minister’s ruling follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), who believe the export decision should be deferred on the grounds of the study’s aesthetic importance and outstanding significance for both the study of Raphael and the history of aristocratic collecting of old master drawing in 18th century Britain.
The decision on the export licence application for the study will be deferred for a period ending on 3 July 2013 inclusive. This period may be extended until 3 January 2014 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the study at the recommended price of £29,721,250 (plus VAT which can be reclaimed by most institutions).
Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by Mr Vaizey. Such purchases frequently offer substantial financial benefit to a public institution wishing to acquire the item.
Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s © All rights reserved