Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's All Greek to Us

The French have their Gallic noses out of joint yet again:

PARIS, Jan 8, 2007 (AFP) - The head of the Paris Louvre was forced on Monday to fight off accusations that France's most prestigious museum is "selling its soul" by agreeing to loan out its prized collections overseas.

At the core of the row is a project to create a satellite of the Louvre in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi....

For some in France, alarmed to see their treasured heritage leaving the country following a string of overseas tie-ups by major French museums, the glitzy Abu Dhabi project was the last straw.

Under the title, "Museums are not for sale", three art world heavyweights including Francoise Cachin, head of France's national museum council, set the ball rolling with a fiery article in Le Monde newspaper last month.

..."Works belonging to our heritage are not consumer goods," the article read, dismissing the Abu Dhabi project as a gimmick for rich property developers that would deprive the Louvre's 7.3 million annual visitors in Paris.

The article also slammed the decision to loan out works, including by the 17th-century French painter Nicolas Poussin and the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael, as part of a three-year partnership between the Louvre and the US city of Atlanta -- "the rich city of Coca-Cola".

Imagine! Nike of Samothrace and DaVinci's Mona Lisa outside France!

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