Export bar on rare St Luke painting while £3.3m buyer sought
The government has placed an export bar on a rare painting of St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child by artist Dieric Bouts.
The 15th Century oil painting has been valued at £3.3m.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: "This distinctive painting is the only example of St Luke drawing the Virgin Mary and Christ by a Northern European artist on display in this country."
An export licence application will be deferred until 26 February 2016.
The decision follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest.
Spokesman Lowell Libson said: "This painting includes not only a painter making a drawing - a study from 'life' - but also a delightful passage which reveals a tantalising glimpse of a painter's studio."
The painting depicts St Luke drawing the Virgin Mary and Christ, a popular subject in 15th Century Netherlands.
Bouts was one of the leading and most influential painters of this period and is considered a pioneer of the oil painting technique.
The export bar may be extended until 26 June 2016 if a serious buyer in the UK is found.