News from the Louvre in Fukushima

Attributed to the Circle of the Master of Brunswick
Pen and Brown Ink,
Black Chalk - 28.1 x 18.5 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre

16/01/12 - Exhibition - Louvre in Fukushima - Our article on the exhibition to be sent by the Louvre to Fukushima was echoed in the media. We can now add more information :

- The exhibition is in fact a bit richer than we had originally announced and it also contains drawings ; a list dated 15 December, includes four drawings which will be sent to Japan : two Annunciations, one attributed to the circle of the Master of Brunswick (ill.), the other by Andrea Schiavone, an illumination by the Master of the Apocalypse of Aymar in Poitiers representing The Visitation, and The Meeting of Two Groups of Young People by Joseph-Marie Vien.
Also, the Virgin with Child in ivory will no longer be part of the trip and will be replaced by another sculpture of the same subject, in polychrome stone, from the 16th century Champagne school. An Egyptian statue, Standing Family Group of Nebseny and Baket from the New Kingdom, 18th dynasty, has been added to the exhibition, as well as a mirror case : a courtly scene in ivory, from Paris, first third of the 14th century and another majolica plate from Gubbio.
This may not be the definitive list. In any case, as we have already seen, any object will do.

- The Commission des dépôts et des prêts [Committee for deposits and loans] which met on Monday, 16 January at the Service des Musées de France granted its approval for the exhibition.

- One third of the curators at the Louvre (excluding department heads) signed a letter addressed to the president of the Louvre, requesting that he suspend a precipitous project given, notably, the problems it might encounter for the conservation of the works. We should point out that many of the curators at the Louvre found out about the project thanks to our article...

The Louvre continues to claim that the radioactivity in Fukushima is normal. Where does it get its information ? No one knows. However, as we showed earlier, specialists on the matter affirm the contrary. We would also like to point out two articles which appeared recently in the press and give specific figures. The first states that radioactive levels are "significant" at 200 km. from the nuclear power plant (Fukushima is 80 km. away from it), while the second informs us that the situation in early December was not yet stabilized, when preparations for the exhibition had already started.

Morgane Bertrand, "Fukushima, radioactivité sous le tapis", Le Nouvel Observateur, 14/12/11.

Le Monde, with AFP, "Nouvelle fuite radioactive détectée à Fukushima", Le Monde, 5/12/11.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 17 janvier 2012

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