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The drawing, which had been export stopped pending the search for a British buyer, was sold through private treaty by Sotheby’s thanks to major donations from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Art Collections Fund.

Barocci (1528/35-1612), considered one of the greatest painters of his day, built his reputation through his beautiful altarpieces and a number of portraits, notably that of his patron, Duke Francesco Maria II della Rovere, now in Florence.

The drawing is a modello for the full-sized cartoon. The Last Supper study is the final design for the altarpiece for the Sta Maria sopra Minerva church in Rome. Pope Clement VIII commissioned the painting in 1603 for his family chapel, and the finished work was installed in 1611, six years after his death.
Pope Clement’s commission is unusually well documented, with an earlier modello for the altarpiece housed at Chatsworth, and a series of letters to the Duke of Urbino from the Pope’s agents detailing the Pope’s reaction to the final design.
The drawing will go on public display at the Fitzwilliam in February next year.