VIDEO - History is being made at the Louvre Museum in Paris: For the first time an official Israeli exhibition will be displayed in the world’s most visited museum.
The spectacular Lod mosaic that was uncovered in an archaeological excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority will be on display in the Cour du Sphinx (Sphinx Courtyard) in the Roman wing of the museum between May 23 and August 19.
So far, the mosaic has been shown at five museums in the United States, first and foremost among them a successful presentation held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and a total of some 700,000 visitors have attended the exhibitions in America.
Until today, only a number of private Israeli artists have been exhibited in the Louvre, and now, for the very first time, an official Israeli exhibition will be displayed in the French museum.
According to the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman, “This is a great honor and achievement for the Israel Antiquities Authority and a wonderful opportunity for the millions of visitors to the museum to see the masterpiece from Lod and learn about the archaeology and history of the Land of Israel."
The Lod mosaic (photo courtesy of Lod Municipality)
The 1,700-year-old mosaic, one of the most magnificent and largest ever revealed in Israel, was uncovered in the city of Lod in 1996 and covered over again in order to protect it.
In 2009, after obtaining the necessary funding to expose it, the Israel Antiquities Authority renewed the archaeological excavation there and removed the mosaic from the site in order to conserve it.
The mosaic constitutes a rare archaeological gem that is extraordinarily well-preserved. It measures approximately 180 square meters and is composed of colorful carpets that depict in detail mammals, birds, fish, flora and the sailing and merchant vessels that were used at that time. It is thought the mosaic floor was part of a villa that belonged to a wealthy person in the Roman period.
The Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center, which will be constructed in the city of Lod where the mosaic was discovered, is presently in the advance stages of planning. The center is scheduled to be opened in the autumn of 2014.
Click here for the Lod mosaic exhibition announcement on the Louvre Museum website