News story

Final chance to halt export of rare Pietro Lorenzetti painting

Important medieval panel painting could leave UK.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on ‘Christ between Saints Paul and Peter’, a 700 year old panel painting by Pietro Lorenzetti. This provides a last chance to raise the money to keep the painting in the United Kingdom.

Vaizey’s ruling follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, who ruled that export should be deferred because the painting was of outstanding aesthetic importance and outstanding significance for the study of early fourteenth century Sienese painting.

An exemplary work

This small panel painting is an exemplary work by one of the most important artists of late medieval Italy. Pietro Lorenzetti and his brother Ambrogio are often said to have foreshadowed the art of the Renaissance. Panel details:

  • painted around 1320
  • the only picture in a British collection with an unquestioned attribution to Pietro Lorenzetti
  • depicts Christ with Saint Paul to his right clutching a sword wrapped with a bright red belt, and Saint Peter to his left clenching a prominent set of keys
  • in tempera, with gold leaf covering a background of three arches and fine gilding used to decorate Christ’s robes

Exceptionally rare

The panel is thought to have originally been part of one of Lorenzetti’s most important altarpieces. Aidan Weston-Lewis, Reviewing Committee member, said:

“This is an exceptionally rare and interesting early work by Pietro Lorenzetti, redolent of his celebrated frescoes at Assisi. It has only recently come to light and offers many avenues for further study and research.”

‘Christ between Saints Paul and Peter’ is famous for its naturalism and subtlety. Pietro Lorenzetti  was one of the most prominent and original Sienese painters of the fourteenth century.

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