Louvre Museum Opens New Islamic Art Exhibit

Under the direction of Islamic arts expert İlhan Alemdar, the Louvre Museum in Paris recently open an exhibition on Islamic art and culture, containing some 20,000 drawings, paintings, sculptures, and other works of art acquired from private and corporate owners.

The Hurriyet Daily News reports that Alemdar has 25 years of experience in Islamic art (as well as Greek and French art) as a staff member of the museum. He also is a member for the French Ministry of Culture.

The exhibit features artwork spanning from the 7th century, when Islam was founded, to the mid-1800s, featuring work from across the Islamic world.

“Along with the ones in Turkey, Egypt, the Gulf countries and some other Arabic countries, this collection of the Louvre Museum is one of the rare collections in the world,” Alemdar said. “The artifacts reflect very different techniques and styles from all geographies where Muslims have lived. The Seljuk ceramics from the mansion of Alaaddin Keykubad in Konya, Kaşhan ceramics, Kütahya and İznik tiles, wooden, glass and metal objects, miniatures, calligraphy and manuscripts are among the museum’s magnificent pieces.”

He points out that only a small portion of the 20,000 pieces are being displayed. The items not displayed are stored in the museum’s depot along with 360,000 others.

The museum itself has 70,000 square meters of display space. Consuming enough energy to power a small city of 4,500 people, the Louvre displays 35,000 works of art and historical artifacts as old as the Neolithic Era and as late as 1845 (C.E.) in more than 400 rooms and 22 large galleries. Overall, the museum has 10,000 stairs and 70 kilometers’ worth of walking space. More than 2,200 people from 40 professions (including a 63-person file department) work at the museum, catering to the 40,000-50,000 daily visitors that walk through its many, many doors.

The museum is one of Paris’s most visited tourist attractions, drawing in an astounding 9.2 million visitors every year.


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