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LOUVRE

Paris: Louvre breaks record to buy €160 million paintings

The Louvre splashed out €80 million for its share of two Rembrandt paintings after France teamed up with the Netherlands for the deal worth €160million in total.

Paris: Louvre breaks record to buy €160 million paintings
Photo: AFP

France and the Netherlands signed a historic deal on Monday acquiring two large Rembrandt portraits for €160 million ($174 million), the French culture ministry announced.

The agreement, signed by French culture minister Fleur Pellerin and her Dutch counterpart Jet Bussemaker seals the multi-million dollar deal agreed upon in September for two of the Dutch master's works.

The acquisition – costing the Louvre €80 million – is the largest ever made by a French museum.

The portraits, dating from 1634, are of prominent Dutchman Marten Soolmans and his future wife Oopjen Coppit, both wearing black with white lace on the eve of their marriage.

The ministry said in a statement that the two works will be unveiled at the Louvre “in the coming weeks” before being shipped off to the Netherlands for restoration.

The works will then be shared between the Paris museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam which both house some of the largest public art collections in the world.

France and the Netherlands acquired the paintings from the French branch of the Rothschild family, one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the world.

Over the past 150 years the public was only able to catch a glimpse of the valuable portraits during an exhibition organized in 1956.

The deal was reached after a series of twists and turns after the Louvre turned down the Rothschild's initial price in 2013.

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TOURISM

New guide to Paris museums – showing only the nudes

There are lots of guides to the visual splendours of Paris' museums and art galleries - but for those with a short attention span comes a new one, showing only nude or erotic artworks.

New guide to Paris museums - showing only the nudes
Find your way straight to the most erotic works in Paris galleries. Photo: Guiseppe Cacace/AFP

The online guides to the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay museums are produced by the porn website Pornhub and provide a list of the best erotic artworks in each museum, plus directions of how to get there – so you don’t need to waste your time looking at paintings of people in clothes.

The Classic Nudes series has been ruffling some feathers since it was posted online earlier in July, with the Uffizi museum in Florence threatening to sue. Bosses at the Louvre have said only that they are ‘dismayed’, while the Musée d’Orsay has remained silent on the subject.

The guide for the Musée d’Orsay lists 11 erotic artworks, together with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and a location for each piece within the museum.

The Sleep by Gustave Courbet. Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP

Among the works featured are;

  • Le déjeuner sur l’herbe by Edouard Manet (1863) – which features a group having a picnic in which the woman has lost her clothes (the men remain fully dressed in three-piece suits and ties).
  • Un combat des coqs by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1846) – a nude couple watching a cock fight (that’s cockerels fighting, just to be clear).
  • L’origine du monde by Gustave Courbet (1866) – more than 150 years after it was first painted, the intimate close-up of female genitalia is still making waves. In 2019 Facebook had to pay damages to a French teacher whose account was closed when he posted a picture of the famous artwork.

The guide for the Louvre includes:

Nude young Man by Hippolyte Flandrin. Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP
  • Portrait of Madeleine by Marie Guillemine Benoist (1800) – groundbreaking in several senses, this painting is one of the few on the list by a woman, and shows a topless black woman, painted just six years after the abolition of slavery in France’s colonies. 
  • Diane sortant du bain by François Boucher (1742) – one of many paintings on the list showing women having a bath, this features the Greek goddess Diana and her favourite nymph apparently surprised by the artist in the process of drying off after a bath. 
  • Le Jeune homme nu by Hippolyte Flandrin (1835) – most of the flesh shown in both the galleries is female (because that’s the patriarchy for you) but here we have a more rare male nude, a study of a young man sitting and looking rather sad and pensive.

As is hopefully clear, the Pornhub guides are explicit in nature and not suitable for children.

Both museums, however, form a great day out for all the family and contain a lot of fully-clothed artwork too. At present both are operating reduced visitor numbers due to health rules, so advance booking to recommended.

IN DETAIL: When do France’s top tourist sites reopen?

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