Lecture by Barbara Pezzini on: The mysterious sale of Velázquez’s ‘Rokeby Venus’, London (Dec 5, 2016)


Reclining Nude rests on her right arm and looks into a mirror held by a putto

Diego Velázquez, The Toilet of Venus (The Rokeby Venus)

National Gallery London, Sainsbury Wing Theatre

December 5th, 2016, 1 – 1.45 pm

Admission free

When the painting appeared for sale at art dealers Agnew’s in November 1905, many believed it should be purchased for the nation, yet the high price was beyond the National Gallery’s resources. But the newly founded National Art Collection Fund launched a public appeal to gather the sum required for its purchase. There followed three intense months in which dealers, scholars, art benefactors, museum visitors and even royalty attempted to raise the necessary funds.

Barbara Pezzini is an art historian who has published widely on the art market and its significance for the history of art, and is currently researching London art dealers Agnew’s and their relationship with the National Gallery. She is a Founding member of TIAMSA.