Dulwich Picture Gallery has announced that it has been granted £2 million in endowment funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Catalyst Endowments scheme. The grant has however not come without some serious strings attached.  To qualify for the grant the Gallery is required to  raise another £4 million in matching donations to create a new £6m endowment fund for visual arts learning and it needs to raise this by 2016.
Income from this new endowment fund will be dedicated to safeguarding the sustainability and growth of the Gallery’s award-winning and life-changing learning and community engagement programmes, curatorial research and the provision of research services for students. In addition, it will help the Gallery attract new supporters and encourage existing donors to give towards its endowment.

Major Conservation work confirms Dulwich painting from Studio of Titian
Recent conservation and scientific analysis have identified Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Venus and Adonis as an authentic 16th-century work executed in Titian’s studio.

The painting was originally acquired for the King of Poland in the 1790s by the Gallery’s founder Noël Desenfans as a work by Titian, but due to extensive retouching and its deteriorating physical state the painting was demoted to the status of a late 17th-century copy and removed from display over 100 years ago. Until now the heavy layers of yellow varnish have obscured the painting’s workmanship, but careful conservation has revealed the work to be an evocative rendition of an episode from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, centering/ upon the last meeting of the ill-fated lovers Venus and Adonis. The delicate luminosity of Venus’s flesh tones and the exuberance of Adonis’s hounds as they depart for the hunt indicate that the painting was created in Titian’s studio and within his own lifetime.

Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Venus and Adonis is a version of the celebrated painting sent by Titian to his patron King Philip II of Spain in 1554, now at the Prado Museum, Madrid. Venus and Adonis was one of the artist’s ‘poesie’ - an ambitious series of large-scale paintings dealing with mythological themes - and proved to be one of Titian’s most sought-after and enduring masterpieces. Demand for the composition motivated the artist to produce made-to-order versions, often with changes included to suit the patron, such as the Tyrolean hat that Adonis wears in this rendition.

Dulwich Picture Gallery has organised a special display which will run from 10 July 2012 to 13 January 2013 to celebrate the return of this significant work to the Gallery, where it will hang as the centrepiece at the end of the historic enfilade. The painting will be joined by two other works from the permanent collection: the Gallery’s 17th century copy of Titian’s Rape of Europa which was part of the original Poesie series (now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston), and Rubens’s oil sketch of Venus mourning the death of Adonis to illustrate the tragic conclusion to the story of the two lovers.

Venus and Adonis was so highly rated by the founders of Dulwich Picture Gallery that they commissioned a special frame to display it. This highly ornate frame has also been in storage for over 100 years and the Gallery is currently seeking funds to restore it to its original spendour. Despite its present condition it will be reunited with Venus and Adonis for the first time since the 19th century.

This display is part of a celebration of Titian’s Poesie in London this summer.  The Wallace Collection’s Perseus and Andromeda will be on show at the museum’s Great Gallery, while Diana and Callisto, Diana and Actaeon will be united at the National Gallery’s exhiibition’Metamorphis:Titian 2012 (until 23rd September)
Lecture:Venus and Adonis unveiled
Tuesday 2nd October  7.00 for 7. 30 pm  Linbury room
£10, £8. Friends  (Includes a glass of wine)
Lecture given by Dr Xavier Bray, Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator at Dulwich Picture Gallery