The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) and the National Gallery in London are delighted to announce that Titian’s great masterpiece Diana and Callisto has been acquired for the public.
This acquisition – along with the purchase of its companion painting Diana and Actaeon in 2009 – ensures that these two superlative works by Titian will remain together on public display in either London or Edinburgh. This also means that the Bridgewater Collection – the greatest private collection of Old Master Paintings in the world – will remain intact on long-term loan at the NGS.
Both institutions were acutely aware of the challenges of launching a public campaign during such difficult economic times and therefore decided to approach individual donors and grant-making trusts in the first instance. Our initial discussions led to a number of significant pledges of support, with exceptional charitable grants being offered by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Art Fund and The Monument Trust. We are immensely grateful to all the individuals and trusts whose generous charitable support has made this acquisition possible.
Diana and Callisto and Diana and Actaeon have been in the UK for more than 200 years. They were both painted as part of a cycle of works for Philip II of Spain and they represent a highpoint in Italian Renaissance art. The paintings left Titian’s studio together and have only changed hands three times since then (from the Spanish Royal Collection to the Orléans collection, and then to the Bridgewater Collection at the end of the eighteenth century). The acquisition of Diana and Callisto means that the pair can remain together in Britain for the enjoyment of the public in perpetuity.
The two paintings were offered by the Duke of Sutherland, to NGS and National Gallery in London on very generous terms at prices significantly lower than their market value. Having raised £50 million in 2009 to acquire Diana and Actaeon, the Galleries were given until December 2012 to find a similar amount for Diana and Callisto. To meet this, the Trustees of the National Gallery in London made the unprecedented decision to allocate a significant proportion of their remaining reserves to this acquisition. This sum of £25m principally represents bequests left by members of the public over many years and held by the Gallery for future picture purchases.
To assist the Galleries in meeting the funding target, the Duke of Sutherland and his family have agreed to a further reduction of the asking price to £45m. By agreement with all parties a new, earlier deadline was established of the end of March 2012. The generous reduction in price, together with the commitment of the National Gallery in London’s reserves, gave both Galleries a strong basis from which to fundraise.
As a result of the joint acquisition, Diana and Callisto will be shared by both institutions and displayed together with Diana and Actaeon on a 60:40 rotating basis in London and Edinburgh, meaning that the public will have access to both works together. This allocation reflects the fact that a larger proportion of the funding for Diana and Callisto has come from the National Gallery in London.
Diana and Callisto will be on display from today in London for 18 months (to be joined by Diana and Actaeon on its return from a regional tour in July), and then on display in Scotland for 12 months. Following this, both paintings will be shown together in London for three years and in Scotland for two years. They will then settle into a display cycle of six years in London and four years in Scotland.
This acquisition and the continuation of the Bridgewater Loan, which includes masterpieces by artists such as Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt and Poussin, ensure that the NGS retains its status as one of Europe’s great destinations for any lover of Western European art. The Titian pictures have been on continuous public view in the Scottish National Gallery since they were placed there on loan in 1945 by the then 5th Earl of Ellesmere (later 6th Duke of Sutherland). The addition of these masterpieces to the collection in Trafalgar Square, which is already rich in works by Titian for all periods of his activity, establishes the National Gallery as a world centre for the study of Venetian Renaissance painting.