Rare riches from France’s famous museum, Palace of Versailles, will be put on show at Australia’s national gallery in Canberra from December as part of a display never seen outside the French borders.
Over 130 paintings, tapestries, pieces of furniture, statues and other objects (including a celebrated harp belonging to Marie Antoinette) from Versailles will be displayed.
“The Palace of Versailles has never before lent a collection like this, drawn from all over the palace, to an exhibition outside France,” National Gallery of Australia director Gerard Vaughan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Items making the long journey include a marble bust of Louis XIV, a formal portrait of Marie Antoinette, and the 1.5 tonne-statue of Latona and Her Children from one of the main fountains of Versailles outside Paris.
“Versailles: Treasures from the Palace” will also showcase personal items, including Marie Antoinette’s hand-crafted chair and harp.
President of the Palace of Versailles, Catherine Pegard said it was the first time the items from the museum had travelled so far from France.
Speaking from Canberra, she said it was important to show that the landmark museum was not closed in on itself but “open to the world”.
The exhibition, which will run from 9 December 2016 to 17 April 2017, had been under discussion for several years, she said.
“We thought that Canberra was a wonderful place because it is so different from Versailles but, at the same time, the power is located in Canberra as it was in Versailles,” she added.
A look at the sprawling interiors of the Palace of Versailles:
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