Ever so slightly elitist isn’t it?

The National Gallery has only got until 22 October to buy Jacopo Pontormo’s Portrait of a Man in a Red Cap (1530), a masterpiece of Florentine mannerism that is currently subject to a government export ban. It has already been sold to a US collector and tax has been paid on it, so the gallery has to match the £30m price – and the deadline is rapidly approaching. With a £19m government grant already awarded.

Why does it matter? Why is it so important to keep this particular painting in Britain? Perhaps because it is not just a beautiful portrait but a moving document of politics and history. For this is a picture of a young idealist: a relic of revolution.

We’ve already taxed the dustmen and the nurses for the pleasure of the Guardian’s art critic. Now he wants even more of other peoples’ cash to feed his desires?

17 thoughts on “Ever so slightly elitist isn’t it?”

  1. Dustmen who hide behind regulations to avoid emptying bins and nurses who don’t nurse, with both suckling on the state’s teat and unionized. Can we update our benchmark of worthy toilers, please?

  2. The prick’s well-off, middle/upper class, cultural Marxist, London-Bubble scum mates have shitloads of money ( a large chunk of it from the British taxpayer anyway). Let those arseholes club together the price if they are so bothered.

  3. Rob,

    I don’t even care if it’s British. You want to look at this painting, Google it. Or pay the $50K it costs to do a 3D scan/print that according to art specialists can only be told apart by art specialists. At the point where you need things like X-Rays to tell apart a $50K product from a $30m product, when the point is people looking at it, there is no point spending $30m.

    Original art is this weird, fucked up madness that makes no sense for government to be involved in. Some rich guy wants to spend millions for whatever shit Jeff Koons makes just to show off to his pals, fine. His money, his twattery.

    Cinema killed it. We can go and watch Inception or Star Wars or The Duke of Burgundy. And it kicks the ass of a youth with a red cap.

  4. Oddly enough the people who object to the free movement of art have no problem with the free movement of people.

  5. It’s just snob posturing. By arguing that other people should be robbed to buy this thing he differentiates himself from the philistine mob at not personal cost.

    Unusual for the Guardian.

  6. I think it was American philosopher Daniel Dennett who said something like “I never understood why so many of America’s galleries are stuffed full of dull European art…until visiting Europe and seeing the third-rate crap that’s hanging on their walls”. If we’re not careful, what remaining art America doesn’t own, will be sucked up by wealthy benefactors in Asia and the Middle East. Am sure there are lots of bin men and nurses who don’t consider themselves Philistines – that read books and take pleasure in visiting what remains of our public art collection.

  7. Am sure there are lots of bin men and nurses who don’t consider themselves Philistines – that read books and take pleasure in visiting what remains of our public art collection.

    Then they are welcome to help pay for it. Voluntarily.

    Those that don’t give a shit about 16th century Florentine art shouldn’t have to have their pockets picked by grauniad pseuds.

  8. I’ve had a couple of short holidays in Italy lately and while I was there I toured a few churches and palaces to check on the Renaissance art while it’s still there.

    Unfortunately much of what’s left is on ceilings and walls and can’t easily be whisked off to America or the far east, so when the newly arrived art critics decide that religious art doesn’t look good on the walls of their newly converted mosque it will just be destroyed.

    Still, I’m sure we’ll get another renaissance eventually.

  9. BiW has it. We can now do very high quality 3D reconstructions of the real thing, either physically or as CGI in our computers (the first being a tangible copy of the second).
    Perhaps that’s what our state-sponsored galleries ought to be doing and the state coercion ought to be to have the owner grant a licence for the copies.

  10. Depressingly, I remember the last time this Pontormo was up for grabs.

    And the Three Graces at Petworth, before that.

  11. Irrelevant to the principle, but it’s not even a particularly good painting; look at the unnatural angle of his right arm and the ratio between the head and the body.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *