The BBC is to put every one of the 200,000 oil paintings in public ownership in the UK on the internet as part of its aims to demonstrate a ‘deeper commitment to arts and music’.

All the UK’s publicly owned oil paintings – 80% of which are not on public display – are now to be placed on the internet by 2012.

The BBC is to establish a new section on its website called Your Paintings where people can find out more about the art the nation owns collectively. The Public Catalogue Foundation launched in 2003, is 30% of the way through cataloguing the UK’s collection of oil paintings.

Mark Thompson, the BBC Director General, said: ‘The BBC has a special responsibility to support and enable the cultural life of Britain, particularly through our investment in arts and music programming.

‘Today we are not only reaffirming our commitment to arts, but we’re announcing a series of measures that will put this relationship on an even stronger footing. Through innovative new partnerships, I believe the BBC can deliver big, bold arts programming that is accessible, distinctive and enjoyable.’

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