A few months ago, new gallery sections of the Paris-based Louvre’s Department of Islamic Art was thrown open to art lovers. No less than 3,000 pieces are on view as part of it. The objects span over a vast history of 1,300 years, spread across three continents, right from Spain to entire Southeast Asia. Here are some highlights of the amazing collection:
- In 1893, a 'Muslim art' section was first created at the Musée du Louvre and in 1905 the first room dedicated to the Islamic collection was opened within the Department of Decorative Arts. The collection was expanded under two curators, notably Gaston Migeon.The bequest of Baroness Delort de Gléon in 1912 enriched the section with prestigious objects from her husband's collection and led to the creation of the Salle Delort de Gléon in 1922 in the Pavillon de l'Horloge.
- The display of the department’s new exhibition spaces provides an overview of artistic creation from the dawn of Islam in the 7th century to the early 19th century, encompassing architectural elements, stone and ivory objects, metalwork, glasswork, ceramics, textiles and carpets, manuscripts and so on. Based on the juxtaposition of various cultures and the constant exchange between the different regions of the Islamic world, the installation highlights both the homogeneity of Islamic art (which makes it instantly recognizable) and its extraordinary creativity with regard to common themes expressed throughout the centuries.
- Boasting 14,000 objects and admirably complemented by 3,500 works from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs — many of which are being exhibited for the first time — the department's collection reflects the wealth and breadth of artistic creation from Islamic lands.The history of the collections reflects both history in the broadest sense and the history of artistic taste.
- The first Islamic objects exhibited at the Louvre came from royal collections, following the creation of the Museum Central des Arts in the wake of the Revolution, in 1793. Notable works include an inlaid metal basin known as the basin known as the 'Baptistère de saint Louis' made in Syria in the 14th century, as well as Ottoman jade bowls that had belonged to Louis XIV. There are also the works from the royal abbey of Saint Denis (like the rock crystal ewer made in Egypt in the early 11th century).