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25 October

Pavillon des sessions

Inaugurated in April 2000, the Pavillon des Sessions is located on the south side of the Palais du Louvre, between the Flore wing and the Denon wing, and exhibits 108 masterpieces of sculpture from throughout the world in the heart of one of the world's greatest classical fine arts museums.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo have suddenly found themselves under the same roof as a Dogon Master of the Red Mother and Child and the plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl. The opening of the Pavillon des Sessions marks a major turning-point in the history of Western attitudes towards the arts and civilisations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas - three quarters of humanity and six thousand years of world history...

 

a major advance in the history of attitudes

After centuries of waiting, these masterpieces have finally gained entrance to the Musée du Louvre in solemn splendour - treated and exhibited with the same respect and understanding as works in the other museum rooms. Interior architecture for the 1,200 m2 area was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and enables visitors to enter without being immediately aware if its special nature. With its pure lines and uncluttered use of space, with minimal partitioning, bathed in subdued light by silver-plated bronze mesh screens, it is at once modern and faithful to the Louvre's original architectural principles for exhibition of works to maximum effect.

Today, an embassy in th heart of the Louvre

The architecture of the exhibition area fits in perfectly with the Louvre, and also prefigures the major principles underlying design of the Musée du quai Branly. The four great geographical regions are presented, all intercommunicating, with visitors able to pass from one to another unhindered... And although the aesthetic qualities of the works are the prime consideration – in the spirit of the Musée du Louvre, of which the Pavillon des Sessions is a part –, visitors may also extend their reading on and understanding of the artefacts. Large geographical maps at the entrance to each room provide immediate information on origins and locations of items, and illustrated notices expand on the basic information provided on the cartels. Furthermore, multimedia apparatus equipped with a dozen interactive screens gives access to complementary information on the history, context, use and society of origin of the items on exhibit. Today, now that the Musée du quai Branly has finally opened its doors, the Pavillon des Sessions remains open and continues its role as the new museum's ambassador.