The Louvre Museum, which has ignored calls from Greece to return the stolen Winged Victory of Samothrace state, known as the Nike of Samothrace, said it has hit the one million euro ($1.35 million) mark in its campaign to get enough funds to restore the famed work, revered as perhaps the greatest in the world of its kind.
Some 6,700 people made donations to the drive to raise funds for the restoration of the iconic 2nd Century B..C. Greek marble sculpture that has graced the halls of the French museum since 1884, the museum’s management said.
The funding campaign, titled “Tous Mecenes!,” (All Patrons) started on Sept. 3, 2012 with the aim of raising one million euros from private donations on top of an additional three million euros raised in sponsorships to reach the total cost of the restoration project, which is estimated at four million euros, about $5.43 million.
An international restoration commission comprised of French and international experts is in charge of the project, which is expected to be completed by June next year.
The statue is estimated to have been created around 200–190 B.C. It is eight feet high. It was created to not only honor the goddess, Nike, but to honor a sea battle. It conveys a sense of action and triumph as well as portraying artful flowing drapery through its features which the Greeks considered ideal beauty and has been called the greatest example of Hellenistic sculpture.
The statue was discovered on the island of Samothrace in April 1863 by the French consul and amateur archaeologist Charles Champoiseau, who stole it and sent it to Paris in the same year.
The Louvre – as as the British Museum in refusing to return the stolen Parthenon Marbles – has refused to allow Nike to be brought back to its rightful home in Greece, claiming it now belongs to France, which didn’t create it.