The United Kingdom imposed a temporary export ban on a round piece of bronze from the end of the fifteenth century, made in Mantua, Lombardy, and valued at £ 17 million.
The Renaissance statue, which depicts Venus, the Roman goddess of love, surrounded by her lover Mars, her husband Vulcan and her son Cupid, is in danger of being sold abroad unless a buyer is found in the UK.
Culture Minister Caroline Dinaj announced the ban in a statement saying that the decoration was larger, more intricate and more refined than other examples in British collections produced in Mantua at the time.
Gosport MP said: “This piece is an extraordinary mixture of myth and mystery. I hope a buyer from the UK is found so that researchers can discover his secrets and the public can see this wonderful design on display.”
The ban followed advice from a review committee on the export of artworks and objects of cultural interest, which said that their unique size and composition made the circular shape “very technically interesting and a great subject of beauty.”
Although the artist is unknown, committee member Stuart Lockhead said the piece showed clear links with Donatello and Mantegna.
Lockheed added: “The exquisite craftsmanship, aesthetics and mystery of this statue is captivating, and exporting it from the UK and the consequent loss to the nation would be unfortunate.”
The Ministry of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports said the decision on the export license application has been delayed until September 27 in hopes of finding a local buyer.
This can be extended until March 27, 2022 if there is a serious intention on the part of someone to raise money to purchase the piece.