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Acquisition of The Three Graces by Lucas Cranach A national treasure joins the Louvre thanks to over 7,000 donors

Acquisitions - type 1 - November 12, 2010

This past November, the Louvre issued an appeal for donations of an unprecedented scale for the acquisition of a Renaissance masterpiece: The Three Graces, by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The rarity, beauty and exceptional condition of the artwork warranted such an outstanding effort from the museum.

This past November, the Louvre issued an appeal for donations of an unprecedented scale for the acquisition of a Renaissance masterpiece: The Three Graces, by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The rarity, beauty and exceptional condition of the artwork warranted such an outstanding effort from the museum.

Les Trois Grâces de Lucas Cranach, Détail de la tête du personnage de gauche

Les Trois Grâces de Lucas Cranach, Détail de la tête du personnage de gauche

© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola

Painted on a small wood panel in 1531, this artwork depicts three female nudes with exquisite finesse. A theme that dates back to Antiquity, giving rise to a number of mythological variants, the Three Graces often personify mirth, abundance and splendor. Lucas Cranach the Elder intertwines the realism of Northern European painters and the softer, smoother imaginary realm of Italian painting, with a highly personal and deliberately ironic version.

Until its acquisition by the Louvre, this masterpiece of the German Renaissance had remained in private collections and had never been shown to the public. Its astonishing perfection, rarity and remarkable condition earned The Three Graces the status of “Trésor national” (national treasure), after the French Ministry of Culture and Communication denied an export certificate for the painting in 2009.

With three quarters of the funds necessary for the acquisition, the Musée du Louvre had only three months to raise the remaining million euros required and decided to appeal to the generosity of the general public. The response was overwhelming, and within one month, the objective was met.

Les Trois Grâces de Lucas Cranach, Détail de la tête du personnage central

Les Trois Grâces de Lucas Cranach, Détail de la tête du personnage central

© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola

Some 7,200 donors, alongside ten corporations, contributed to this exceptional acquisition. The Three Graces thus entered the museum’s collection during a moving ceremony on March 1, 2011 in the presence of the French Minister of Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand. They will undoubtedly join the ranks of the Mona Lisa and the Victory of Samothrace as one of the museum’s most famous works of art.

The Musée du Louvre would like to thank all the donors who made it possible for this Renaissance masterpiece to join the museum’s collections!

Les Trois Grâces de Lucas Cranach, Détail de la tête du personnage de droite

Les Trois Grâces de Lucas Cranach, Détail de la tête du personnage de droite

© 2011 Musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola

Find out more about The Three Graces by Lucas Cranach

Watch the inauguration ceremony for The Three Graces at the Musée du Louvre.

To thank campaign donors, the Musée du Louvre held several events giving donors a preview of the painting and an opportunity to meet with Vincent Pomarède, director of the Department of Paintings.

Listen to what donors at the event had to say

Corporate patrons will find all the projects in need of support on the dedicated mini-site: www.louvresponsorship.com

Practical information

For information on giving to the Louvre, please contact Individual Giving:

Krystyna Pieter
Tel.: +33 (0)1 40 20 57 92
E-mail: mecenat@louvre.fr