An Oasis in the Desert?Issues and Intricacies Concerning the Louvre-Abu Dhabi Museum Expansion
and raternal society. In visiting the museum, the French citizen was to witness the glory o the country exhibited through the now nationally owned cultural treasures displayed there, and ultimately to understand himsel “as a citizen o history’s most civilized andadvanced nation-state.”
Indeed, the Louvre’s origin and early development promoted thecountry’s newound reedom, equality, and wealth, oering to theFrench people cultural knowledge as well as the ability to identiy themselves as members o a powerul nation. Te mission o therevolutionaries to open the Louvre to general admission was satu-rated with political undertones. Te goal was twoold: to prove,by successully opening the Louvre to the people, that this newly liberated governmental power was greater than any that had comebeore it, and to educate the people in a manner conducive to theRepublican leanings o the government.
Andrew McClellan ex-plains the opinion o Revolutionary writer Armand Kersaint, authoro
Discours sur les monuments publics,
on the eects the Louvre as anopen institution would have or the country: “Completing the Lou-vre, [Kersaint] stated, would demonstrate that the new regime hadaccomplished ‘in several years what ten kings and ty prodigal min-isters had ailed to do in several centuries.’”
In addition, the gov-ernment promoted a sense o national ownership o all the culturaltreasures the Louvre contained. “Te perception o collective own-ership helped [to] ashion…the ‘republican mold’ and to coner onthe citizen ‘a national character and the demeanor o a ree man.’… At one and the same time, the museum symbolized the stability o the state and the triumph o the people.”
Te enormous exhibition mounted in the Louvre at its openingon 10 August – including over 661 objects, mostly paintings, sculp-ture and objets d’art
– was an important statement about the glory o the arts in France and, in equal measure, about the ability o thegovernment to provide these beautiul objects or the education o the country.