Titian’s great masterpiece Diana and Callisto is to go on display in London after a joint purchase of the work by the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland.
The piece was bought for a discounted price of £45 million from the Duke of Sutherland following years of fundraising efforts by the galleries.
It means the work can continue to be displayed alongside its companion piece Diana and Actaeon, which was bought by the galleries for a similar amount in 2009.
The two were painted as part of a cycle of works for Philip II of Spain and they represent a highpoint in Italian Renaissance art.
They left Titian’s studio together and have only changed hands three times since then, spending the past 200 years in the UK.
Diana and Callisto will be shared by both National Galleries, displayed together with Diana and Actaeon on a 60:40 rotating basis in London and Edinburgh.
The newly acquired work will initially be on display from today (March 1st) in the English capital for 18 months (to be joined by Diana and Actaeon on its return from a regional tour in July), giving those staying at luxury hotels in London plenty of time to see it before the two masterpieces head to Scotland for 12 months.
Following this, the two paintings will be shown together in London for three years and in Scotland for two years and then settle into a display cycle of six years in London and four years in Scotland.
"For more than a hundred years these two great paintings by Titian have been regarded as pre-eminent among the masterpieces in private hands in the UK," said Dr Nicholas Penny, director of the National Gallery London.
"[Their acquisition] is a triumph for us, but also for our predecessors, made possible by today's supporters, but also by benefactors who have long departed."