|Titian portrait to leave National Gallery|
Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent
The Guardian Thursday August 4, 2005
With his fine-cut features and dreamy gaze, Titian's Portrait of a Young Man is one of the most handsome faces gracing the National Gallery's walls.
But it will soon be lost to the gallery, and, most likely, the UK. The Earl of Halifax, who owns the painting and has loaned it to the gallery since 1992, now plans to sell it.
According to a statement from the gallery: "Exhaustive discussions have been held between representatives of the earl and representatives of the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland, with a view to a joint purchase."
But they could not come up with a satisfactory offer.
Charles Saumarez Smith, director of the National Gallery, told the Guardian: "There has been an incredible risk since the Duke of Northumberland sold the Madonna of the Pinks that other landowners would take the opportunity to sell paintings that were on loan to us, since they can raise such enormous sums."
The Raphael Madonna was sold to the National Gallery for £22m.
The earl's representatives were tight-lipped about the sums involved, but a work of this rarity would only change hands for millions.
"It's a great early portrait: an extremely beautiful and rather wonderful painting," said Mr Saumarez Smith.