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The Louvre calls for help to purchase Cranach's painting

The Three Graces by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1531

The Louvre is seeking individual donors to help buy a masterpiece of Lucas Cranach, The Three Graces.


"We have assembled three-quarters of the sum, so it should be the last effort to make this painting join the national collections," said Henri Loyrette, the director of the Louvre Museum since 2001.
Never exposed to the public, the painting remained in private collections since its creation in the sixteenth century. The small painting (24 cm x 37 cm) depicts three young naked women on a dark background. It was probably a private commission and has been kept since 1932 by the same owner in France who has put it up for sale for four million euro.
Some scholars believe The Three Graces to be an allegorical representation of Charity, Friendship and Fidelity although the title says the Three Graces.
There's another Cranach's famous representation of the same subject at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, in Kansas City, USA.

The Three Graces by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1535, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

"The astonishing perfection of the artwork, its rarety and remarkable state of preservation allowed to declare it the National Treasure, " says the Louvre. Mr. Loyrette is convinced also that this painting can become a sort of icon in the museum. Director of Paintings at the Louvre Vincent Pomarède says: "It is a work at the same time fun, troubling, mysterious, and extremely sensual."
This appeal to the individual donors is the first of the kind in France, but common in other countries. Thus, in 2008, the Tate Gallery was able to acquire a drawing by Rubens "The Apotheosis of James I (1628), now the English national heritage treasure. Viscount Hampden, its owner then, threatened to sell it abroad. The Tate purchased it for £5.7 million after launching a public appeal, (1 Euro = 0.8877 British pound). In 2009, the National Gallery and National Gallery of Scotland have managed to raise through public appeal £100 million for the Titian painting, Diana and Acteon (1559) acquired from the Duke of Sutherland.



Diana and Actaeon by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio),  1556-59

The Louvre set up a website (www.troisgraces.fr) for the operation, and donors have until 01.31.2011 to make their donations directly online or by requesting a form.
via leparisien.fr, reuters.com





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