The exhibition opening marked the official beginning of the Year of Russia in France and the Year of France in Russia.
Before the opening ceremony, the Presidents and their spouses – Carla Bruni and Svetlana Medvedeva – talked with people on the square in front of the Louvre.
After viewing the exhibition, the Presidents left notes in the Louvre guest book. “The Holy Russia exhibition is a very important element in the Year of Russia in France,” wrote Dmitry Medvedev.
The exhibition includes artefacts encompassing over 1,000 years of Russian history. It includes 438 unique items from the collections of four libraries, one archive and 17 Russian museums, including the Kremlin, the State Historical Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery, and museums in the ancient Russian cities of Vladimir, Suzdal, and Novgorod.
A special greeting to exhibition visitors from the President of Russia reads:
“The Holy Russia: Russian Art from the Beginnings to Peter the Great exhibition is one of the central events in the Year of Russia in France, taking place at the world-famous Louvre museum.
Displayed here is an extraordinary exposition gathered from the collections of Russia’s leading museums and including true masterpieces of our nation’s historical heritage.
Part of the exhibition are ancient icons, a most emphatic and original element in Russian and global culture. Other exhibits are unique works in arts, crafts and jewelry, as well as sensational artifacts found by archeologists and evidencing the Ancient Russia’s highest level of development.
The exhibition displays the spiritual and cultural traditions of the Russian people and the great humanitarian values that bind Russia and France.
I am certain that the Holy Russia: Russian Art from the Beginnings to Peter the Great exhibition will be of great interest to the French public. I am confident that it will serve to expand the traditionally close cultural ties between our nations and become yet another catalist for continued intercultural dialogue within common European civilization.”