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Patron saint for 600th anniversary

Maratta’s depiction of The Crucifixion of St Andrew

The arm bone, tooth, knee-cap and three fingers of Scotland’s patron saint Andrew will at last be reunited with the rest of his body, the likeness of it at least, when Maratta’s depiction of The Crucifixion of St Andrew goes on display in the town of St Andrews this week.

Legend has it that the remains of St Andrew were carried to Scotland at some point in the 9th century  by the monk Regulus and are still buried in St Andrews. Now the town and university which bears the disciple’s name will be exhibiting a rarely seen painting of Andrew’s crucifixion.

The Earl of Wemyss is to lend the painting by the 17th-century Italian master to the University of St Andrews for the duration of the University’s 600th Anniversary celebrations. The painting – among the gems of one of the richest private art collections in Scotland – goes on public display in the Museum of the University of St Andrews from St Andrews day 2011 until 2013.

Those who live and study in St Andrews, and visitors alike, will now be able to see first-hand the talents of an Italian master and his interpretation of the scene that gave birth to the story on which St Andrews and its 600 year-old University are founded, and the cross which has become the unifying symbol of Scotland.

Professor Ian Carradice, Director of University Museums, said:

“It is wonderful to have on public show, here in MUSA this iconic image of St Andrew, so closely identified with this town and country since the Middle Ages”.

Carlo Maratta lived in Rome from 1625-1713. The scene of St Andrew’s adoration of the cross was a popular one for 17th-century artists, but Maratta’s work is praised for its striking and bold figures and “vigorous energy”.

A second version of the painting is held at the Bob Jones University in South Carolina and a smaller one in the Louvre.

AXA Art have agreed to sponsor the Maratta oil painting, as a gift to the University’s 600th Anniversary Campaign, through waiving the insurance costs both for the transit of the work and its time in St Andrews.

Notes to News Editors

Founded in the 15th century, St Andrews is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. Teaching began in the community of St Andrews in 1410 and the University was formally constituted by the issue of Papal Bull in 1413.

MUSA (Museum of the University of St Andrews) is located at 7a The Scores and tells the story of Scotland’s first University from its foundation in around 1413 until the present day.  Using some remarkable objects and artworks, the museum examines St Andrews’ foundation and early development, student life and leisure through the ages and the scientific, literary, philosophical and theological developments that have sprung from this seat of learning.  The museum is open Thursday-Sunday from noon until 4pm.

AXA ART is the world’s only art-led insurer. The company specialises in high value home contents and buildings, art collectibles and musical instruments and insures individuals – from the emerging collector or owner of just a few works of art to some of the world most dedicated collectors. AXA ART also insures dealers, museums, galleries and exhibitions both in the UK and internationally.

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