Entertainment & Arts

Rare St Luke painting to stay in UK

St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child Image copyright DCMS
Image caption Dieric Bouts is considered a pioneer of the oil painting technique

A rare 15th Century oil painting of St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child by Dieric Bouts is to remain in the UK after £2,290,650, was acquired in funding and donations.

County Durham's Bowes Museum secured money from the Art Fund, Heritage Lottery fund and private donors.

The museum will work in partnership with galleries in York and Bristol.

The government had placed an export bar on the "distinctive painting" last November while a buyer was sought.

York Art Gallery and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery will work with the Bowes Museum to deliver "a diverse and exciting activity programme surrounding the painting".

'Fantastic news'

Adrian Jenkins, director of The Bowes Museum, said: "During the 15th century, Netherlandish paintings were admired all over Europe for their visual sophistication, imagination and invention, and those by Bouts and his workshop were no exception."

Netherlandish artworks were usually painted in oil, often depicting religious scenes or small portraits with richly detailed backgrounds.

The painting depicts St Luke drawing the Virgin Mary and Christ, a popular subject in 15th Century Netherlands.

Bouts, who was born in the Netherlands in around 1400, was one of the leading and most influential painters of this period and is considered a pioneer of the oil painting technique.

The bulk of the funding came from the Heritage Lottery Fund which awarded The Bowes Museum £1.99m.

Culture and digital minister Matt Hancock said: "It's fantastic news that this stunning painting will remain in the UK for the public to see. I'm delighted that the export deferral has allowed this outstanding work of art to find a new home at The Bowes Museum."

The National Gallery in London will also lead a scientific investigation and conservation project on the painting, before it is displayed at the Bowes museum and its partner galleries. It will ultimately be housed at the museum in County Durham.

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