No government cash for Titian

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THE Scottish Government will not make a contribution towards securing a second masterpiece of western art for the nation.

The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) and the National Gallery in London have until the end of next year to buy Titian’s Diana and Callisto for about £50 million from the Duke of Sutherland.

The duke announced his decision to sell the painting, which has been on loan to the NGS since 1945, in 2008.

Its companion piece, Diana and Acteon, was bought for the nation three years ago with contributions from private and public donations, and about £12m from the Scottish Government, as well as money from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Monument Trust and the Art Fund, along with National Gallery London and NGS funds.

It will be displayed in Scotland and London for five years at a time.

But the Scottish Government said yesterday that, even though the Bridgewater collection was important, “this government has made its contribution to the campaign” and there was no extra cash available.

Begun in 1556 for Philip II of Spain, Diana and Actaeon is one of six large-scale paintings by the artist depicting scenes from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Considered one of Titian’s greatest works, it shows the moment the goddess Diana discovers that her maid Callisto has become pregnant by Jupiter.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We wish the NGS every success with their efforts to secure the other Titian painting, Diana and Callisto.

“However, with a 57 per cent cut to the culture portfolio capital budget over the next three years, there are no additional funds available for major purchases.

“Over the past five years, the government has made significant investments in Scotland’s galleries and museums, as well as contributing to the redevelopment of the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Museum of Scotland.”