The Louvre begins building $135 million Islamic art wing

August 5th, 2008

Louvre’s glass-roofed Islamic wing via Guardian

The Louvre Museum in Paris has commenced the construction of its new Islamic art wing with plans to finish it in 2010. The new wing, which is being called “The Veil”, has been described by its Italian architect, Mario Bellini, as a Muslim “headscarf blown in the wind.” The $100 to $135 million project will provide 33,000 square feet of space to exhibit the Louvre expansive Islamic Art collection. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has claimed that the wing is more than a space to exhibit Islamic art but also a symbol of the friendship that exists between France and the Arab world. The Saudi prince, Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s wealthiest men, is contributing $20.5 million to the project, other funding is coming from oil giant Total and Lafarge, as well as the French government.

Louvre draws a veil over artistic neglect with bold new Islamic wing [Guardian]
Prince funds Louvre Islamic wing [BBC]
First stone laid for Louvre’s Islamic art gallery [Associated Press]
Sarkozy lauds Islam at Louvre ceremony with Saudi prince [AFP]
Islamic Art [The Louvre]

Islamic masterpiece via The Louvre

The Guardian calls the project “the most daring project since IM Pei created the giant glass pyramid 20 years ago.” Political leaders used the recent ceremony at the Louvre to voice their intentions behind the construction of the Islamic wing.

Nicolas Sarkozy and Alaleed bin Talal via AFP

Sarkozy took the opportunity to say, “This will be an opportunity for the French and all visitors to the Louvre to see that Islam is progress, science, finesse, modernity, and that fanaticism in the name of Islam is a corruption of Islam,”

Reuters quotes the Saudi prince as saying, “It will reinforce understanding between Western and Islamic cultures and civilizations.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal via AFP