Louvre opens first ever exhibition in Tehran
9 March, 2018
Journalists flooded Iran's National Museum in Tehran on 5 March for the arrival of more than 50 artworks from the Louvre - the first major show by a Western museum in the country's history. The show reflects France's determined use of cultural diplomacy as it seeks to rebuild traditional ties with Iran, even as their officials hold tense talks over political and security issues. The doors were unsealed for journalists at the National Museum in central Tehran a day ahead of the public opening.
Among the items shipped over by cargo plane were a 2,400-year-old Egyptian sphinx, a bust of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and drawings by Rembrandt and Delacroix. The show marks the culmination of two years of work since a cultural exchange agreement was signed during a visit by President Hassan Rouhani to Paris in January 2016.
France has deep cultural ties with pre-revolutionary Iran, and the National Museum itself was built by a Frenchman, Andre Godard, in 1938. While Britain and Russia battled for political influence in 19th-century Persia, it was the French who led the way in archaeological affairs.