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Art Fund launches appeal to acquire ‘Armada Portrait’ of Elizabeth I

Plus: Protestors halt closure of Brazil’s culture ministry | Restoration of Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art receives go-ahead | Bowl looted from National Museum of Afghanistan returned | Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation examines the civic role of the arts

23 May 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Appeal to acquire ‘Armada Portrait’ of Elizabeth I | The Art Fund is leading a campaign to raise £10 million to acquire the famous ‘Armada Portrait’ for Royal Museums Greenwich after its owners – descendants of Sir Francis Drake – announced their intention to sell the work. According to The Art Newspaper, recent valuations suggest that the painting is worth around £16.3 million, but the family have agreed on a price of £10 million for a national museum. The Art Fund has pledged £1 million to the campaign, one of its largest fundraising drives to date, and Royal Museums Greenwich is contributing £400,000. The portrait is currently on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. It is hoped that the funds can be found before July.

Protests against closure of Brazil’s culture ministry | Thousands of people across Brazil have staged demonstrations against interim president Michel Temer’s decision to close the country’s culture ministry. So far, their tactics seem to be working. According to Reuters, the Brazilian government has announced that it will reinstate the culture office, which it had previously planned to merge into the education ministry as part of a cost-cutting drive.

Restoration of Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art to begin | Glasgow School of Art has applied for permission to carry out major restoration work on its Mackintosh building, reports the Glasgow Evening Times. Work on the building, which was heavily damaged by fire in 2014, will cost around £50 million, £17 million of which has already been raised. The school expects work to begin in July.

Bowl looted from National Museum of Afghanistan returned | An NHS employee who bought an engraved 17th-century copper bowl in a Saudi market more than 20 years ago has returned the object after discovering it had been looted from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul. Patrick von Aulock discovered the object’s dubious provenance when he attempted to sell it through Christie’s. ‘I’m in favour of returning goods to their country of origin,’ von Aulock told the Times (£). ‘It’s criminal that museums are targeted, blown up and things disappear…’

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation launches inquiry into the civic role of the arts | The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has invited arts organisations to contribute to an inquiry into the role the arts play in civic engagement and the revitalisation of communities. The Foundation hopes that the findings will help lay the foundations for future initiatives across society. To take part, visit civicroleartsinquiry.gulbenkian.org.uk.

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