With a little help from over 4,000 donors who made micro-contributions, the Louvre was able to raise the €800,000 ($1.09 million) it needed in order to acquire a pair of medieval ivory statues for €2.6 million ($3.56 million), AFP reports. The museum had launched the campaign in October of last year under the banner “Tous Mécènes!” (“Everyone’s a Patron!”), and received donations from individuals and companies, 98 percent of whom were French.
The Louvre’s first “Tous Mécènes!” campaign had allowed the Parisian mega-museum to acquire Lucas Cranach’s “The Three Graces” in 2010. It had until yesterday to acquire the two diminutive ivory figures from a private collector. They complete a “Descent From the Cross” scene from the 13th century whose other figurines the Louvre already had in its collection. The two statues represent Saint John and the allegorical figure for the synagogue.
The statues were declared a national treasure by France’s minister of culture, who prevented their sale to any foreign bidders until January 31, the cut-off date for the Louvre to acquire the objects. The art insurance group AXA Art originally committed €500,000 ($684,000) to the purchase, adding another €100,000 ($136,900) subsequently that helped push the Louvre’s campaign to its goal.
— Benjamin Sutton
(Photo © Musée du Louvre 2012; Via Louvre/Facebook.)