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Rare portrait faces exportation

'The Head of an African Man Wearing a Turban' by Sir Peter Paul Rubens

ARTS MINISTER Michael Ellis has placed a temporary export ban on the painting by Flemish artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens. It has been done in an attempt to keep the rare portrait in the UK.

The Head of an African Man Wearing a Turban is one of the few existing examples of artwork that records an African man in Europe, dating back to the 17th century. The portrait faces the possibility of being exported unless the asking price of £7,695,860 can be raised.

The prolific artist is widely recognised as the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens used the oil sketch in his 1609 portrayal of Balthazar in Adoration of the Magi. It depicts the giving of gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus.

Highlighting the portraits significance, Arts Minister Michael Ellis said: “Rubens was one of the great artists of the golden age of painting. This powerful sketch is not only a stunning example of his work, but hugely important as a rare representation of an African man in Europe at this time.”

The recommendation has been made in account of Rubens exceptional approach to art and the study of his renowned artistic practice. If the portrait is to be kept in a public collection, it is felt that it will enhance both heritage and history that will engage with more diverse audiences.

The decision on the export license application for The Head of an African Man Wearing a Turban will be deferred until 5 July 2018, however, this may be extended if enough money is raised to meet the recommended price.

Organisations or individuals interested in purchasing the Head of an African Man Wearing a Turban should contact the RCEWA on 0845 300 6200.

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