Rembrandt for sale at discount price (but you must give it back to museum)

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The Independent Online

Sweden's most expensive painting is up for sale at a steep discount – but on very special terms.

The arts academy that owns Rembrandt's Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis said yesterday that it was willing to let it go for 300 million kronor (£24m) – less than half of its estimated value.

However, the buyer must donate the masterpiece to Stockholm's National Museum, where it is one of the main attractions, said Olle Granath, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts.

"It has hung at the National Museum since 1866. That's where it's going to stay," Mr Granath said.

By selling the painting, the cash-strapped academy wants to raise money for exhibitions and other activities, Mr Granath said.

He said the Rembrandt was valued at 750 million kronor but the academy was ready to offer a 60 per cent discount because of the special condition that means the buyer must donate it to the waterfront museum in the Swedish capital.

The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis depicts a scene from the rebellion of the Batavians, a Germanic tribe, against the Romans.

Painted in 1661-62, it was originally intended for Amsterdam's City Hall, but was refused and sold at an auction, according to the National Museum.

It ended up in Sweden through inheritance and was donated in 1798 to the arts academy, which later deposited it at the museum.

Mr Granath would not identify potential buyers, but said they could be from Sweden or abroad.

"I have asked around and there are many who have said that 'if we get together as a group to do this, then it's not impossible'," he said yesterday.