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Exquisite 16th Century painting, The Virgin and Child, by Luis de Morales is on the verge of being lost from the UK

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on a 16th Century painting by Luis de Morales, The Virgin and Child.

This will provide a last chance to raise the money to keep the exceptional piece 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 and of outstanding significance for the study of 16th Century Spanish painting.

The painting, which dates from the mid 16th Century (c.1560), depicts the Virgin Mary in a fine embroidered white chemise, simple blue cloak and the wide brimmed hat of a traveller. Luis de Morales was perhaps one of the most significant painters of devotional images in 16th Century Spain. The painting provides an exquisite focus for meditation by depicting the Virgin and Child against a dark background that encourages a strong sense of intimacy.

Johnny Van Haeften, Reviewing Committee member, said: “This piece is an exceptional example of 16th Century Spanish devotional painting, which is under-represented in the UK. It is undoubtedly an art-historically important painting, has survived in an outstanding condition and displays great refinement in its execution.”

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 12 July 2011 inclusive. This period may be extended until 12 October 2011 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase the painting at the recommended price of £1,645,868 (inclusive of VAT) is expressed.

Anyone interested in making an offer to purchase the painting should contact the owner’s agent through:
 
The Secretary
The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest
Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
Grosvenor House
14 Bennetts Hill
Birmingham
B2 5RS

Telephone 0121 345 7427

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Notes to Editors

  1. For all media enquiries please contact Senior Media Relations Adviser,  Sunita Sharma, on 020 7273 8299, email: sunita.sharma@mla.gov.uk.

  2. 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 Peter Rowlands, RCEWA Secretary, on 0121 345 7427, email peter.rowlands@mla.gov.uk.

  3. 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.

  4. The details of the painting are:

Luis de Morales (c. 1520-86)
The Virgin and Child (c. 1560’s)
Oil on panel
66.5 x 46 cm

  1. Further details about the painting can be found on the Sotheby’s website

LITERATURE
Robin Gibson, Catalogue of Portraits in the Collection of the Earl of Clarendon, London, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, c1977, p. 137, no. 157. 

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