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U.K. galleries land Titians

February 03, 2009|Associated Press

Two national galleries said Monday that they raised $70 million after a public appeal to keep Titian's 16th century masterpiece "Diana and Actaeon" on display in Britain.

The National Gallery of Scotland and the National Gallery, London, bought the painting for a third of the $210 million the Renaissance masterpiece was estimated to be worth on the open market.

About $568,000 of the $70 million came from private donations from individuals. The rest of the money came from government, charities, arts bodies and the galleries. The galleries, one in Edinburgh and one in London, will take turns showing the painting for five years each.

"It testifies to the power of Titian's painting and the conviction that public access to the greatest works of art is of the utmost importance," said Nicholas Penny, director of the National Gallery, London.

The galleries appealed to the public for help last summer, when it was announced that the Duke of Sutherland, the painting's owner, was willing to part with it.

Titian's masterpiece, which depicts a scene from a poem by Ovid, was painted for King Philip II of Spain and sent to him in 1559.

The Duke of Sutherland has said he will offer the painting's companion, "Diana and Callisto," to the galleries in four years at the same price.

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