Paris's Louvre appeals for million euros to buy masterpiece
Paris's Louvre museum has launched an appeal for one million euros (1.4 million dollars) to buy a 16th century German masterpiece, and created a special website to support it.
The owners of the Renaissance painting of "The Three Graces" by Lucas Cranach the elder, who have owned it since 1932, are asking four million euros, and the Louvre has managed to amass three-quarters of the amount.
"It needs one last effort for this painting to join the national collections," Louvre president Henri Loyrette says on the French-language website (http://www.troisgraces.fr).
The small-sized work, painted in 1531 and always privately owned, shows three women against a dark background, wearing nothing but necklaces and, for the central figure, a red hat.
According to the website, the painting is remarkable for its "astonishing perfection", its great rarity and its state of conservation, meriting its designation as a national treasure.
Donors have until the end of January to contribute whatever sum they wish to the purchase of the painting, and see their names figure on a list of sponsors.
© 2010 AFP