In the Louvre in Paris and over an area of 3,000 square kilometers, new exhibition halls, dedicated to displaying treasures from Islamic art, were inaugurated. These halls house rare and exclusive collections comprised of more than 2,500 masterpieces chosen from the museum’s possessions.
The collections include a wide range of artifacts covering several phases of Islamic heritage from Spain to India, thus spanning the period form the seventh till the 19th century. Most of the items are put on public display for the first time.
“The main purpose of displaying those artifacts is offering a chance for the visitors of the Louvre, whose number amounts to nine million a year, to become acquainted with Islamic art. The project cost 100 million Euros. France paid one quarter of this amount and Arab countries paid the rest,”said Henri Loyrette, general director of the Louvre Museum.
The external structure of the museum contains a two-floor suite made of contemporary glass and is covered with a golden-colored steel ceiling. The internal structure inspires guests to imagine what type of items are displayed, determine their geographical and historical background, and decipher the codes of their ornaments then compare their speculations with those offered by specialists.
“We displayed the items in chronological order to allow guests to familiarize themselves with Islamic history,”said Sophie Makariou, director of the Louvre’s Islamic art department.
The inauguration of the new halls is a milestone in the history of the Louvre, for this is the first project of its kind since the inauguration of the glass pyramid in the past century.
“When I became manager of the Louvre in 2001, I suggested to president Chirac that a museum of Islamic art be established since the Louvre only contained a small section for that,”said Loyrette.