Culture Minister Places Export Bar On Important Brueghel

British Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on the painting ‘The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man.’ by Flemish artist Jan Brueghel the Elder. The work will be exported overseas unless money can be found to match the asking price of £6,963,000. The artist was considered the most important Flemish painter of cabinet pictures around the period of 1600.

The work by Brueghel the Elder, is exceptionally well preserved and belongs to a small group of so called ‘Paradise’ landscapes, created around 1612-15, which are among his most celebrated works. ‘The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man’ is the smallest of these works but the most refined of the oeuvre.

The painting combines a wooded landscape with a detailed depictions of a large variety of animals and plants, for which the artist was particularly famous. The Culture Minister has deferred granting an export licence for the painting following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, (RCEWA) administered by Arts Council England.

The Committee made the recommendation on the grounds that the painting was of outstanding aesthetic importance. The Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This work is an exceptional piece, celebrating not only the beauty of the natural world, but reflecting the growing scientific interest in nature of the time. The painting’s remarkable condition further enhances the work’s importance and rarity, and I sincerely hope that efforts can be made to raise funds for a matching offer to keep the painting in the UK.”

Lowell Libson from the RCEWA added: “The small paintings executed on copper by Jan Breughel the Elder are amongst the most beautiful and entrancing examples of Flemish art of the early seventeenth century. This perfectly preserved work is not only important but particularly beguiling.” The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending at midnight on 4 March 2015. This period may be extended until 4 July 2015 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the piece is made at the recommended price of £6,963,000.

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