An important 17th century artwork by Nicolas Poussin has been saved for the nation as a result of a £3.9 million fundraising campaign.

The oil painting, Extreme Unction, will be acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum after grants and donations met the cost of buying it under the Government's acceptance in lieu scheme.

The scheme allowed the purchase well under the market value of £14 million.

nicolas poussin extreme unction Extreme Unction by Nicolas Poussin


The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Art Fund led the campaign, which saw nearly £1 million raised in donations from the public and charitable bodies.

And the Heritage Lottery Fund completed the fee with a substantial grant of just over £3 million for the painting, painted between 1638 and 1640.

It will remain on display at the National Gallery in London until November 11 and will be exhibited at the Fitzwilliam from early next month. It will later tour other museums and galleries.

Dame Jenny Abramsky, chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "Extreme Unction is an extraordinarily moving and beautiful Old Master which has influenced generations of artists."

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