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Sunday, May 26, 2013

First Israeli exhibition displayed at Louvre

The Lod mosaic (photo courtesy of Lod Municipality)
The Lod mosaic (photo courtesy of Lod Municipality)

Hundreds of thousands of tourists expected to view spectacular Lod mosaic at world’s most visited museum this summer

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 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

Read more about the Roman Mosaic here:

This four-minute video produced by the Metropolitan Museum from footage provided by the Israel Antiquities Authority documents the initial discovery of the Lod mosaic in 1996 and its lifting and conservation in 2009. The work in 2009 produced some dramatic results that shed light on the way the mosaic was laid some seventeen hundred years ago.

Produced by Christopher Noey
Edited by Kate Farrell
Animation by Paul Caro
Production Assistant - Sarah Cowan
Audio Post-Production - David Raymond
Scholarly Consultant - Christopher Lightfoot

Special Thanks:
Miriam Avissar
Jacob Fisch
Carlos Picón
Jacques Neguer

All photographs and video footage courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.