Paris, Oct 22 (AP/UNB) — Much about Leonardo Da Vinci remains an enigma: the smile of the "Mona Lisa"; why the world's most famous painter left so many works unfinished; and more recently, who bought the contentious "Salvator Mundi."
A new exhibit at the Louvre, however, opening Thursday and marking the 500th anniversary of the Italian master's death, tries to sketch out as complete a picture of the artist and thinker as possible.
Drawing from the Louvre's permanent collection and institutions around the world, the exhibit brings together some 160 works. They include Da Vinci masterpieces, dozens of studies and scientific sketches, and pieces by other artists in Da Vinci's orbit. Visitors can also experience a virtual reality portion of the exhibit that delves into the story behind the "Mona Lisa."
"We wished, in order to pay homage to the artist, to be able to show the entirety of Leonardo Da Vinci's career and his development and to explain, ultimately, the sense of his life," curator Vincent Delieuvin told The Associated Press.
The exhibit runs through Feb. 24, 2020. Visitors must reserve tickets online in advance, and the Louvre said it has already pre-sold 220,000 tickets as of Monday morning.
More than 10 years in the making, the project began when Louis Frank, the exhibit's other curator, translated a Renaissance-era Da Vinci biography to round out existing knowledge about the painter's life. That biographical emphasis is evident in the exhibit's design, which traces the artist's trajectory from his apprenticeship with Florentine sculptor Andrea del Verocchio to his death in France in 1519.
With a whole room devoted to his scientific pursuits, it seeks to capture the quest for knowledge and perfection of a man Delieuvin called "a universal genius."
"Leonardo Da Vinci, he is one of those rare men, those personalities who fascinate us, because he was universal," Delieuvin said. "He had an interest in all aspects of nature, we all see ourselves in his personality."
"Mathematicians, geometry specialists, doctors, artists, everyone sees a part of themselves in Leonardo," he added.
Several of Da Vinci's completed paintings will be on display, including "La Belle Ferronniere" and "The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne." The "Mona Lisa" will remain in its case, upstairs. Visitors will be able to see "Portrait of a Musician" on loan from the Vatican and "Benois Madonna" from St. Petersburg, among other works the Louvre borrowed for the occasion.
Some pieces proved more difficult to obtain. The "Vitruvian Man," Da Vinci's famous drawing of the ideally proportioned male figure, arrived in France from Venice's Accademia Gallery only days before the exhibit's opening.
Italian heritage group Our Italy tried to block the loan, saying the drawing was too fragile to be moved. An Italian court originally suspended the loan before ruling last week that it could travel to France for eight weeks. In exchange, the Louvre will lend several works by Raphael to Rome next year.
The dispute fanned the flames of a broader debate about Da Vinci's legacy and Italian national identity.
"A Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit is very difficult to do, since Da Vinci has become a symbol," Delieuvin said, calling it "natural" that some museums are reluctant to lend pieces from their collections.
Though Da Vinci died in France, Delieuvin said Louvre officials recognize and celebrate the painter's Italian roots.
"I assure everyone that the French have never appropriated Leonardo Da Vinci," he said. "Leonardo is a genius who is evidently Italian, he was entirely formed in Italy, and he would not have become Leonardo Da Vinci in France."
Another, still-absent piece has also drawn significant attention. The Louvre put out a call for the "Salvator Mundi" but has yet to receive the painting, which sold to an anonymous buyer for a record-breaking $450 million in 2017.
It's unclear where the painting is, but speculation abounds that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is its new owner. Art experts, meanwhile, remain divided over whether Da Vinci in fact painted the work.
For now, a variation of "Salvator Mundi" created in Da Vinci's studio hangs in the Louvre exhibit. Delieuvin said he does not know who owns the original, but he's holding out hope it will be sent over.
Delieuvin has said the Louvre will withhold judgment on its provenance until they have the painting in hand.
Dhaka, Oct 21 (UNB) – Internationally acclaimed artist, painter and printmaker Kalidas Karmakar, who passed away on Friday, was cremated here on Monday following the last respects paid by people from all walks of life.
His cremation took place at Baredeswari Kali Temple in the city’s Sabujbagh area around 2pm, said Sourav Chowdhury, Executive Artistic Manager of Gallery Cosmos.
Earlier, people from all walks of life paid tributes to the Ekushey Padak-winning artist, painter and printmaker at Dhaka University and Central Shaheed Minar.
His body was taken to the Central Shaheed Minar around 11am where thousands of people, including artists Hamiduzzaman Khan, Hashem Khan, Monirul Islam, Rokeya Sultana, Farida Zaman and Shahed Quazi, Vice-chancellor of Dhaka University Prof Dr Akhtaruzzaman and Pro-VC Dr Muhammad Samad, former Ducsu Vice-president Akhtaruzzaman, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky and Columnist Mofidul Haque, and his fans and followers paid their respects to Kalidas.
Earlier, his mortal remains were taken to the Dhakeshwari National Temple from Birdem Hospital’s mortuary around 9am.
From there, the body was taken to the Faculty of Fine Art of Dhaka University where thousands of people, including artists, paid their last tributes to the renowned artist.
Many organisations, including Gallery Cosmos, Cosmos-Atelier 71, Cosmos Books, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, Bengal Foundation, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka University, Jagannath University, Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Art, Cultural Affairs Ministry, Dhaka Gallery, BSCIC Design Centre, Bangla Academy and National Museum, laid wreaths at his coffin.
Gallery Cosmos Director Tehmina Enayet, Executive Assistant Director Rumessa Mailoux, Cosmos Books’ CCO ARK Reepon and others from Cosmos Group paid their emotional tributes to the lifelong friend and adviser of the Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos-Atelier 71.
Kalidas suffered a cardiac arrest at his Eskaton residence around 1:30pm on Friday and was immediately taken to LabAid Specialised Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead around 2pm.
The body had been kept at the Birdem Hospital’s mortuary as his two daughters -- Kanka Karmakar and Keya Karmakar –- had been in the USA. They returned home on Sunday.
Kalidas Karmakar was an adviser, friend and fatherly figure of Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos - Atelier 71.
Dhaka, Oct 20 (UNB) - Independent filmmaker Reshmi Ahmed’s two documentary films, “My Protest” and “Depannita - A Lady with Versatile Talents” has been screened at Goethe-Institut Bangladesh on Sunday.
This screening was jointly organized by Goethe-Institut Bangladesh and International Film Initiative of Bangladesh (IFIB), as part of their monthly film screening and discussion series “Through Her Eyes - A space to watch and discuss films with women filmmakers of Bangladesh”.
Director Reshmi Ahmed, a dedicated worker at the Gonojagoron Moncho, made these two films based on the aftermath of Bangabandhu’s killing in 1971 and the scenario she observed where the war-criminals (known as ‘Rajakars’) got premium opportunities to rise in power- until the emersion of 2013’s historic Shahbag protest, also known as the ‘Gonojagoron Moncho’.
Joined by film enthusiasts, makers, students and journalists- the screening was followed by an interactive question-answer session.
Zhengzhou, Oct 20 (Xinhua/UNB) -- The Erlitou Relic Museum opened Saturday in Luoyang city in central China's Henan Province, unveiling the history and culture of ancient China's first recorded dynasty of Xia (2070-1600 B.C.).
Covering an area of 32,000 square meters, the museum exhibits over 2,000 items, including bronze wares, pottery wares and jade wares.
Construction of the museum cost 630 million yuan (about 89 million U.S. dollars).
The Erlitou Relics date back to 3,500 to 3,800 years ago in ancient China's late Xia or early Shang (1600-1046 B.C.) dynasties.
Discovered in 1959 in Luoyang by historian Xu Xusheng, Erlitou was identified by Chinese archaeologists as the relics of the capital city of the middle and late Xia Dynasty.
Over the past 60 years, archaeologists have excavated over 10,000 items out of a total area of 40,000 square meters from the site.
Zhao Haitao from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Erlitou archaeological team, said that China's earliest palace complex, bronze ware workshop and urban road network were all found at the site.
The museum has three display areas where visitors can experience and better understand the archaeological achievements of the Xia Dynasty, and probe into the history and culture of the Xia Dynasty via various kinds of projects, such as virtual reality, embossment and sand tables.
Li Boqian, a professor with the School of Archaeology and Museology of Peking University, said the Erlitou Relic Museum presents daily utensils, manufacturing tools and decorations for visitors to understand the social development, history and culture of the Xia Dynasty.
The museum will help people around the world learn about ancient Chinese history and culture, said Liu Yuzhu, director of China's National Cultural Heritage Administration, at the opening ceremony.
In addition, the museum will become a demonstration site for the protection, preservation and exhibition of China's major cultural heritage sites and a research center for the origin of Chinese civilization.
Istanbul, Oct 19 (Xinhua/UNB) -- A month-long exhibition on Chinese traditional fine arts was inaugurated on Friday in Istanbul with a view to promoting understanding and friendship between the Turkish and Chinese peoples.
The so-called Belt and Road Shanghai Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition comes on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the sistership between Istanbul and Shanghai, the largest cities in Turkey and China.
On display at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts are 160 pieces of fine arts and crafts, including Jinshan peasant paintings, opera costumes, woodblock printing, movable-type printing, Shanghai-style sachets and jade carving, and gold and silver processing technology.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Seracettin Sahin, director of the Turkish museum, said he expects the expo to generate a high interest of both locals and tourists in one of Istanbul's well-preserved ancient museum buildings.
Cui Wei, Chinese consul general in Istanbul, spoke of the importance of intangible cultural heritage for China.
"By using several methods, China has been doing its best to transfer its cultural heritage to the next generations," he said, noting the expo would provide a sound perspective into the Chinese culture.
The exhibits are brought to Istanbul following their presence in Alexandria Governorate of Egypt in August last year.