It was Angelica Kauffman’s largest canvas, one of the most ambitious oil paintings of its era. But the whereabouts of Religion Attended by the Virtues, perhaps the artist’s greatest work, are unknown. It was last seen hanging on the walls of the Guildhall in Plymouth more than 75 years ago.
Now Tate Britain is making a last-ditch attempt to be reunited with it. “It was regarded as Kauffman’s last artistic triumph,” said senior curator Martin Myrone. “We think it showed 11 lifesize figures in the kind of high-minded allegory popular artists were aspiring to then. It is important, as one of the first paintings in the UK’s national collection, and by an artist whose reputation is growing again. I can’t help wondering if it is rolled up in a corner of some council attic.” Read more