Reuters Sydney, Australia
Jul 18, 2016, 12.36 PM
Riches from the Palace of Versailles, including a harp belonging to Marie Antoinette, will travel to Australia, the country's national gallery said on Monday, as part of a display never seen outside France.
More than 130 paintings, tapestries, pieces of furniture, statues and other objects from Versailles, one of France's grand museums, will be on display in the Australian capital Canberra from December.
"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 told AFP 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.