The Louvre in Tehran
As the first large-scale exhibition by a major Western museum in Iran, The Louvre in Tehran, illustrates the rich diversity of the Louvre’s collection, while testifying to the universality of the creative spirit. Two years in the making and coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the National Museum of Iran, the exhibition is an outstanding cultural and diplomatic event for both countries. The exhibition is comprised of 56 works from eight different sections of the Louvre and the Musée Delacroix and will be split in four sections: Birth of the collection, Birth of the Museum, Dream of Globalization and An Alive Museum. In parallel with the Tehran exhibition, the Louvre is presenting The Rose Garden: Masterpieces of Persian Art from the 19th Century, on Qajar dynasty Iran, at Louvre-Lens.
The Louvre in Tehran retraces the creation of the Louvre’s various collections, from the museum’s founding in 1793 to its most recent acquisitions. One of the most highlighted works is a 2,400 year-old Egyptian sphinx weighing over a ton. Others include a bust of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, drawings by Rembrandt and Delacroix and a collection of ancient Iranian sculpture and objects.
Strong relations between the two countries for well over 100 years made the arrangement seamless and the exhibition a long overdue testimony to their enduring cultural ties. French archaeologists began working in Iran in 1884 when the French archaeologist Marcel Dieulafoy was authorized to excavate at Susa. From 1895 to 1927, France held a monopoly of archaeological research for all of Iran, shipping all artifacts back to France, including the Code of Hammurabi, which is located in the Louvre to this very day. “This completely unprecedented exhibition... allows us to make the link between this glorious moment and relations that date back to the 19th century,” says Jean-Luc Martinez, president of the Louvre.