National Gallery launches public appeal to save Orazio Gentileschi painting

  • Published 14 November 2019

The National Gallery in London is seeking to raise the final funds it needs to acquire Gentileschi's The Finding of Moses. The gallery has received a £1m grant towards the campaign from Art Fund as well as donations from other organisations.

Director of the National Gallery Gabriele Finaldi launches the appeal by helping to host a Finding of Moses storytelling session © The National Gallery

Director of the National Gallery Gabriele Finaldi launches the appeal by helping to host a Finding of Moses storytelling session

,

© The National Gallery

The National Gallery is asking for the public’s help to raise the last £2 million it needs to buy a painting of outstanding importance for the national heritage, The Finding of Moses by Italian painter Orazio Gentileschi (1563-1639), and enable the work to stay on free public display in Trafalgar Square and continue to inspire future generations.

The Finding of Moses (early 1630s) is one of just a handful of works painted during Gentileschi’s 12-year residence in London at the court of King Charles I. It was commissioned to celebrate the birth of the future Charles II and intended to hang in the Queen’s House at Greenwich.

There is currently only one Orazio Gentileschi work in a UK public collection, and this painting is particularly resonant for the National Gallery, which acquired Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Orazio Gentileschi’s daughter Artemisia Gentileschi in 2018 with support from Art Fund.

The Finding of Moses has been on long-term loan to the National Gallery from a private collection for almost 20 years. Having attempted to acquire the work in the past, the gallery now has until the end of the year to purchase the work for permanent display at the gallery and to preserve it for future generations.

The gallery has already secured grants of £1m from Art Fund and £2.5m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund towards the £19m total.

Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said: 'The Finding of Moses is one of the National Gallery’s most precious long-term loans and its prospective sale provides the gallery with an important opportunity. My trustees have committed £1m, one of our largest grants to date, towards the acquisition and we hope that other funders and members of the public will feel as strongly about playing a part – big or small – in saving this masterpiece for everyone to enjoy in the national collection.'

For more information on the campaign, visit nationalgallery.org.uk/saveorazio and follow #SaveOrazio.