The Louvre will loan 276 works from its collection of artifacts, stretching from Egyptian times to the turn of the 20th century, to the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec.


A wool tapestry from the 15th century, called Offering of the Heart, is one of 276 works to be loaned by the Louvre. ((Louvre/Canadian Press))

An agreement to hold the exhibit was signed Tuesday in Parisby officials from the two museums.

The exhibit, to be called Louvre in Quebec: Arts and Life, will run June 5 to Oct. 26, 2008.

The works will come from all eight sections of the Louvre's world-famous collection and includeEgyptian antiques, Oriental, Greek, Etruscan and Islamic art, tapestries, painting and sculpture.

"We will have the chance here to go from one civilization to another, from one period which stretches 3,000 years before Christ until the middle of the 19th century," said Line Ouellet, curator of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts in Quebec City.

The museum, near the Plains of Abraham, is celebrating 400 years since the founding of Quebec and its own 75th anniversary.

Love, life to be exhibit's themes

King Henri IV, who ruled France when Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City, will figure prominently in the exhibit.

But the main theme of the exhibit will be love and life, learning and working, and celebrations of life, Ouellet said.

"We want to create an exhibit which aspires to the universality" of life, she said.

"From time immemorial, in all civilizations, works of art accompany us through all the great periods, the great passages that mark existence," she said.

The Louvre has recently become more open toletting some of its collection of 350,000 pieces of art travel for exhibits.


Zephir and Psyche, a sculpture by Belgian artist Henri-Joseph Ruxthiel (1775-1837), will also be part of the exhibit Louvre in Quebec: Arts and Life. ((Louvre/Canadian Press))

The Quebec City exhibit will not feature prominent works, such as the Mona Lisa, but will be a rich cross-section of the collection of the Paris museum.

"We didn't want to make an 'operation main works' centred on two or three pieces," Ouellet said.

"Each section will lend major works to us. We wanted to do justice to the variety of the Louvre's collection."

The Louvre in Quebec exhibit will cover 1,200 square metres and will occupy all four galleries of the museum.