I first saw them in a newspaper ad: two figures, carved from ivory.

The ad invites any reader to become a patron of the Louvre by contributing to their purchase. This is not the first time that the Louvre reaches out to the public to finance the acquisition of national treasures, and is planning to repeat this method at least once a year to complete various of its collections.

The campaign, called “Tous mécenes!” – Everyone’s a Patron! – was started in 2010 when the Louvre wanted to acquire the Three Graces, painted in 1531 by Lucas Cranach.

Photo Credit: The Louvre Museum at dusk in Paris, France. Scott Jungling / Flickr.com