The Parisian Louvre Museum is hosting 16 works of art, including precious Byzantine icons from Kiev, to protect them from the war in Ukraine, we learned from its president on Wednesday .
“From the start of the war, like other major museum institutions, our concern was to see how to support our Ukrainian colleagues. In the fall, faced with the intensity of the conflict, we decided on this rescue,” Laurence des Cars told AFP, confirming information from the French daily Le Monde.
Among these works, whose largest museum in the world piloted the evacuation: five Byzantine icons from the Bohdan Museum and Varvara Khanenko, National Museum of Arts in kyiv. They will be exhibited to the public from June 14 to November 6, said Ms. des Cars.
“It's a small thing in an ocean of sadness and desolation, but it's quite a symbol,” said she added, “aware of the importance of saving this thousand-year-old heritage in the heart of Europe and of the need to pass it on”.
Eleven other works, “among the most emblematic and fragile” of the Ukrainian museum, selected for scientific collaboration on the restoration of works at the Louvre, will be housed in the reserves, detailed the Louvre.
< p>In October, Ms. des Cars had received a Ukrainian delegation of museum representatives, including the director of the museum, Khanenko, when Unesco had identified 240 sites damaged by the war. The inventory of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture then listed 468 damaged, destroyed or damaged cultural sites, including 35 museums.
A rocket fell in early October near the Khanenko Museum, blowing the windows. With the exception of large paintings, the works of art had for the most part been “moved to the reserves, where they are subject to temperature variations and power cuts, which worry our counterparts”, said Ms. des Cars.
The operation to rescue the 16 selected works, financially supported by the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Zones, was officially recorded during a trip to Ukraine by the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, in February and the works were escorted militarily via Poland and Germany in early May.
Entitled “At the origins of the sacred image”, the exhibition Byzantine icons will prefigure the opening in 2027 of a new department of Byzantine Arts and Christianity in the East.