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Temporary export bar placed on major Raphael drawing

  • Date: 5 April 2013
  • Area: National
Raphael drawing study of bearded man's face on light brown paper

Raphael, Head of a Young Apostle.

One of the most important Italian Renaissance drawings in a UK private collection, Head of a Young Apostle (c. 1519-1520), by Raphael, is at risk of leaving the country following its sale to an overseas buyer and a subsequent application to export the work abroad.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on the study to provide a last chance to raise the £29,721,250 needed to keep the drawing in the UK.

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 Arts Council.

The drawing is a cartoon (ie a same-size study) for the head of one of the figures in Raphael's Transfiguration altarpiece in the Vatican, the last, and arguably most dramatic, of the artist's altarpieces.

Securing the work for the nation

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

'I hope that placing a temporary export bar on the Raphael will allow time for a UK buyer to come forward and secure this magnificent example of Raphael's work for the nation. Last year the Ashmolean Museum pulled off an amazing coup in acquiring Manet's Mademoiselle Claus which was similarly at risk of leaving our shores - I hope that this success can be repeated.'

The Reviewing Committee's recommendations were that the study was both aesthetically important and of outstanding significance for the study of Raphael and the history of aristocratic collecting of old master drawing in 18th century Britain.

Importance of drawing in Raphael's creative process

Raphael producing highly detailed tonal drawings to act as guides for him and his workshop to paint the heads of key protagonists in his paintings. The study is a stunning example of this specialist type of drawing that beautifully demonstrates the importance of drawing in Raphael's creative process.

The drawing was one of the greatest remaining Italian Renaissance drawings at Chatsworth collected by William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire (1672-1729) and there is evidence that it may previously have belonged to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (1585-1646) 'the first heroic figure in the history of British collecting'.

The decision on the export licence application for the study will be deferred until 3 July 2013. This period may be extended until 3 January 2014 if a serious intention to raise funds is expressed, at the recommended price of £29,721,250.

Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by Mr Vaizey. Such purchases frequently offer substantial financial benefit to a public institution wishing to acquire the item.

Further information
Find out about other items currently under temporary export deferral on our Cultural Property pages.

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