The French and Iranian governments have forged a relationship that will see several collaborative exhibitions, archaeological projects, publications and more over the next four years as part of a multiyear cultural exchange.
“Relations between France and Iran are old and profound because France was a pioneer of archaeological exploration here,” Louvre president Jean-Luc Martinez shared with AFP of how this arrangement was made possible. “This completely unprecedented exhibition allows us to make the link between this glorious moment and relations that date back to the 19th century.”
Initiated in 2016, following president Hassan Rouhani’s visit to France, steps have already been take in the form of the Louvre loaning 50 masterpieces to Iran’s National Museum for its 80th anniversary. The show opened on 5 March, and works include a 2,400-year-old Egyptian Sphinx, drawings by Rembrandt, a bust of Marcus Aurelius, and two Iranian artefacts, a bronze ax from the ancient city of Chogha Zanbil and a flag from Lurestan.
The move is considered the first large-scale exhibition by a key Western institution in Iran, with Louvre representatives stating that the show is “an outstanding cultural and diplomatic event for both countries.”