Friday, January 12, 2007
The French culture minister has defended plans to help the oil-rich city of Abu Dhabi build its own version of France's most famous museum, the Louvre, saying that the project would enhance France's image abroad.
The project, criticised by art historians and derided in the press as a "Louvre in the sands", is expected to raise more than $647.7 million for France and follows comparable, though smaller arrangements in Shanghai and Atlanta.
Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, France's culture minister, said on Thursday in a senate debate that the policy of taking the Louvre outside France was "a way of enhancing the image of our country".
Donnedieu de Vabres said: "There is no question of changing the fundamentals of French cultural policies or museums. Above all, there is no question of changing the inalienable character of the works of France's heritage.
"It is about making sure they circulate and spread their influence through the world with a limited period of exhibition."