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Dutch public raises funds to restore Napoleon painting

THE HAGUE (AFP) ― The Amsterdam Museum has raised more than 50,000 euros from public sponsors to restore a 198-year-old painting depicting Napoleon’s entrance into the city, its spokeswoman said.

The public was asked to sponsor different parts on the canvas entitled “Napoleon’s Entrance,” painted by Belgian master Matthieu van Bree in 1813 and which until recently had been rolled-up since 1891.

“We have 340 donors who contributed amounts ranging from between 10 euros to 25,000 euros,” Martine Willekens said, adding donors acted out of the “love of art.”

She said donors were individuals of all ages, as well as associations, schools and sport clubs, who collected a total amount of 51,349 euros ($66,000).

“We wanted the restoration to take place in the museum so the public may attend,” Willekens said. “We needed money, so we proposed to the public to participate in this way in this restoration.”

The collection was launched in October to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte’s entrance into Amsterdam on Oct. 9, 1811.

The Amsterdam Museum, hoping to collect 30,000 euros, said it was surprised by the “great success” and was considering similar initiatives in the future, Willekens added.

The painting shows the mayors of Amsterdam welcoming Napoleon and handing him the silver keys to the city’s gates.
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