A long-running battle over who would buy Raphael's "Madonna of the Pinks" from the Duke of Northumberland -- the National Gallery in London or the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles -- ended Thursday night with a victory for the British. The gallery will pay $41.75 million for the early 16th century Italian Renaissance painting, said to be the last uncontested Raphael in private hands.
The painting, a small devotional image of the Madonna and Christ child with a sprig of pink flowers, has been on loan to the National Gallery since 1992. In fall 2002, the duke agreed to sell it to the Getty at an undisclosed price, pegged at about $46.6 million by British authorities. The gallery launched a drive to keep the picture, and the British government temporarily banned its exportation to allow time for fundraising.