France's Louvre Museum is scheduled to hold two exhibits on two Iranian historical periods, namely Achaemenid and Safavid, in the fall of 2007 in Paris, its director Henri Loyrette told Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency.
In an exclusive interview in an ex-palace building inside the museum complex of Sa'dabad, northern Tehran, he explained how he was inspired by Safavid frescos and Achaemenid ruined palaces in Persepolis during his last year visit to Iran.
"Last year as I was touring Iran, I got the idea to hold such exhibitions. I was mesmerized by the sheer beauty of Safavid paintings and felt a burning urge to take them to Paris and display them in the Louvre Museum," he said, following his meetings with Iranian officials and signing agreements for borrowing necessary artifacts for those exhibits.
The Achaemenid exhibition will not, unlike the Safavid one, be restricted to Iran's borders; instead it will cover the ancient empire territory, running from Afghanistan to the east and Egypt to the west.
It is, indeed, the first such exhibition covering the whole geographical territory of the Achaemenids, Loyrette, 52, told CHN. The Louvre Museum would allocate 1,200 sq meters of its display area to it. He pledged the exhibit would also be held in Iran.
Loyrette expressed optimism the Iranian Season in Louvre, scheduled for the fall of 2007, would help French audiences get familiarized with Iran's rich history and culture and deepen Louvre ties with Iranian cultural bodies.
A specialist in the work of Degas, Mr Loyrette joined the Musée d'Orsay in 1978. Over the years he has curated several exhibitions of Impressionist art including a hugely successful 1988 monographic show on Degas at the Grand Palais which attracted 477,000 visitors.
Under his directorship, the Orsay exhibited the works of Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi, Eugene Jansson of Sweden, Poland's Jacek Malczewski and Mikalojus Ciurlionis from Lithuania.
He spent two years at Rome's Villa Medicis in the late 1970 before joining the Orsay in 1978 and becoming its director seven years ago.
His rise to the top has been well-earned however - he is said to be meticulous and incredibly organised, as well as friendly with his staff.
But his life is not all work and no play - Loyrette also prides himself on a range of interests outside his job, from architecture and literature to cinema and French songs.
His hobbies also include playing the violin and singing. The Louvre, one of Europe's oldest museums, houses artworks from the ancient Mediterranean civilizations to the first half of the 19th Century.
It was built as a medieval fortress, became the palace of the kings of France, and for the last two centuries has been a museum, bearing witness to more than 800 years of history.
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