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Domenichino's Saint John the Evangelist to remain in UK

19th May 2010

One of Italian Baroque master Domenichino's paintings will remain in the UK after being bought by an anonymous collector.

Saint John the Evangelist, which was painted in the 1620s, is on public display at the National Gallery after being acquired by a private buyer and offered to the institution.

The painting had been purchased at auction by an overseas buyer for GBP 9.2 million in December last year, but the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest put an export licence deferral on the work to hold it in the UK.

After no UK institution was able to raise sufficient funds to buy the painting, a private collector was able to purchase it under the so-called Ridley Rules, which stipulate that it must be on public display for at least 100 days a year.

National Gallery curator Dawson Carr commented: '[Saint John the Evangelist] is undoubtedly the best work by the artist remaining in private hands and its export would have been lamentable for the representation of Italian Baroque painting in this country.'

Last year, the Tate acquired eight hand-coloured relief etchings by Romantic poet and artist William Blake after a fundraising effort was launched to keep them in the country.

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