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Bid launched to keep Pierino da Vinci work in Britain

16th June 2010

An export ban has been placed on a bronze artwork by Leonardo da Vinci's nephew in a bid to keep the piece in the UK.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey has temporarily banned Pierino da Vinci's sculpture of a scene from Dante's Inferno from leaving the country, following a recommendation from the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest.

The 16th-century artwork, which was originally thought to have been created by Michelangelo and later attributed to Pierino da Vinci, shows Florentine count Ugolino and his sons imprisoned in hell and being tortured.

Under the terms of the ban, export licences for the piece will not be available until September 13th. However, this could be extended until June 13th 2011 if there appears to be a serious attempt by a UK buyer to raise the GBP 10 million market price of the piece.

Simon Swynfen Jervis, a member of the reviewing committee, said: 'This beautiful bronze, praised by Vasari and long attributed to Michelangelo, is a treasure of the utmost importance.'

Last month, Saint John the Evangelist by Baroque master Domenichino was kept in the UK after being bought by an anonymous collector and donated to the National Gallery. It had also been subject to an export ban.

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