It has been more than six months since the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles announced its intent to purchase a Mannerist masterpiece from Italian Renaissance painter Parmigianino (b. 1503 – d. 1540). The painting, Virgin with Child, St. John the Baptist, and Mary Magdalene, dates from around 1530, just after the High Renaissance. It is a premier example of Parmigianino’s abilities, and is significant for being painted on paper affixed to panel.
The Getty has already been exhibiting the painting on loan alongside works by Florentine Mannerist painters like Jacopo da Pontormo and Agnolo Bronzino. But the seller is a private collector in the UK, the painting’s country of residence for roughly 250 years. The seller’s representative, Sotheby’s, therefore had to apply for an Export License from Britain’s Arts Council, which is responsible for regulating the export of cultural items of a certain age and above a certain financial value.
Honoring its mission to be “England’s advocate for the value of art and culture,” the Arts Council delayed granting the license hoping a UK-based buyer would match the Getty’s US$30.5 million (£24.5 Million) offer. The delay is in effect until 9 June 2017, but can be extended should a serious buyer require additional time to raise funds.
Image caption: Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola, Italian, 1503-1540). Virgin with Child, St. John the Baptist, and Mary Magdalene (about 1530-40). Oil on paper, laid down on panel, 75.5 x 59.7 cm (29 ½ x 23 ½ in.) Courtesy of Sotheby’s.