Success of Egyptian Antiquities from the Louvre
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Ptolemaic Period, 32nd Dynasty 332–30 BCE 'Mummy mask' plastered, painted and gilded linen, Department of Egyptian Antiquities, Musée du Louvre, Paris Photograph © Christian Décamps, Musée du Louvre, Paris
2 March 2007
The exhibition Egyptian Antiquities from the Louvre: journey to the afterlife closed at the National Gallery of Australia on Sunday 25 February 2007. This stunning exhibition was attended by 152,025 people. The exhibition gained momentum soon after it opened in November 2006, culminating with more than 10,000 visitors to the Gallery on the last weekend. This is the highest attendance at an exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia since Monet and Japan in 2001 which attracted 227,000 visitors.
"The winning combination of Egyptian Antiquities and the Louvre Museum, one of the five most significant Egyptian collections in the world, captured the public imagination and I am absolutely delighted with the success of the exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia," said Ron Radford, Director of the National Gallery.
"Visitors were particularly taken with the incredible craftsmanship shown in the 3,000 year old antiquities. There were many crowd pleasers, including the sarcophagus, and Canopic jars, but I think the most popular item in the exhibition was the small, beautifully preserved, cat mummy."
"What was also very pleasing for me was to see so many of the people who came to the Egyptian exhibition also taking the opportunity while they were here to look at the new permanent displays at the National Gallery."
A key event in the summer tourism calendar for Canberra, the success of the Egyptian exhibition is also the result of cooperative marketing initiatives with Australian Capital Tourism and the accommodation sector. With 63% of visitors to the exhibition coming from outside Canberra, the ACT economy benefited through direct expenditure of over $20 million.
For those who missed out on visiting Canberra to see the exhibition, images of some of the works and information about the exhibition will remain on the National Gallery's website at www.nga.gov.au. It will also be on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide from 21 March to 1 July 2007 and then at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth from 21 July to 28 October 2007.