Diana and Callisto, 1556-9.
Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9.
Purchased in 2009.
March 1, 2012, source: National Gallery in London
Titian’s great masterpiece Diana and Callisto has finally been acquired for the public. The acquisition - along with the purchase of its companion painting "Diana and Actaeon" in 2009 - ensures that these two masterpieces by Titian will remain together on public display in either London or Edinburgh.
"We have been able to secure both of them for the public, in a period of economic hardship, because of the esteem and affection that both institutions have enjoyed for many decades", said Dr Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery of London. John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said that “it has long been an absolute priority for the National Galleries of Scotland to retain the world-famous Bridgewater loan in this country".
Titian's "Diana and Callisto" and "Diana and Actaeon" (both paintings have the same size, conceived as authentic pendants) have all the splendour and glory of the best Titian's 'painted poetries'. They were painted for King Philip II of Spain and they "represent a highpoint in Italian Renaissance art", as the National Gallery explains in a press release.
"Having raised £50 million in 2009 to acquire 'Diana and Actaeon'" -the press release continues- "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 (...) 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".