The Louvre calls for donations for the purchase of the cameo Venus and Love

Would love be the best argument for soliciting donors to the Louvre? In 2015, the national museum had already launched, with success, a call for participatory sponsorship for the purchase of Love trying one of his arrows, sculpted by Jacques Saly in the 18th century. He does it again this fall by soliciting, as part of his All Patrons campaign, the generosity of individuals for the acquisition of a sumptuous cameo Venus and Love, from the collections of Louis XIV.

→ READ. At the Louvre, “L’Amour” by Jacques Saly attracts donations

It is an agate cover carved in the shape of a shell enclosing the goddess and Love, a work attributed to the great hard stone sculptor, Giovanni Ambrogio Miseroni (1551-1616). The Louvre had already acquired in 1968 the cup on which is inserted this cover encircled by a gilded silver frame adorned with a swan. He now wishes to restore the integrity of this precious object, sold in 1796, along with other works in hard stones from the property of the crown, to one of the creditors of the Directory, the Swiss Jacques de Chapeaurouge.

Sold in 2011 for 1.7 million €

In this work, the artist has superbly played with various shades of agate, exploiting a light gray vein to emboss the body of Venus, with her blonde hair, while cupid by her side seems to emerge from a glowing shadow. The shell is an allusion to the origins of the goddess, born from the foam, while the swan is one of her attributes, traditionally linked to the pleasures of love.

This cameo, which had reappeared in a Swiss collection, had already gone on sale, in 2011, at Sotheby’s. It had flown at the time for nearly 1.5 million pounds sterling (approximately 1.7 million €) and the Louvre could not acquire it. The auction house had estimated that it was “probably” made around 1600, like other hard stone works of the Miseroni, for Emperor Rudolf II of Habsburg. It would have been taken after the sack of Prague in 1648 in the collections of Christine of Sweden, before landing in the collections of Mazarin where its presence is attested in 1661, then in those of Louis XIV.

Today, the work is on sale for € 2,620,000. The Société des Amis du Louvre has already pledged to contribute € 250,000 to this purchase. The museum hopes to raise at least an additional € 1 million through donations from individuals (66% deductible from income tax). At the same time, he continues to seek funds from companies and major French and foreign donors.


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