PARIS—In 1989, the Louvre welcomed a new piece of art, standing in the middle of the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace, right under the eyes of gods, heavenly beings, and humans. It was first created as a new passage to handle the enormous number of visitors coming to the museum every day. The pyramid reaches a height of 21 meters and consists of 603 rhombus-shapes and 70 triangular segments.
But not everyone was happy with it. At the time, French people criticized its contemporary design.
For Vittorio Nurchi, manager at Castangia, a luxury suit company, this is a debate that never dies.
There always existed the idea of ancient art being contaminated with modern art. French people understand, and Italians too. But I think Italians would never have built a pyramid next to the Coliseum,” he said.
I finished this one for you Agnès Varda, you loved people, pasting and illusion … ❤
I am sure you can see it. I did something that can be seen from the sky. Promised, I didn’t know that it was for you pic.twitter.com/U5b29GMWJI
— JR (@JRart) March 30, 2019
But as time passed by, it just became part of the landscape. The pyramid, which was hugely controversial at its inception for its unconventional architecture, has now become one of the defining landmarks of Paris.
The iconic Louvre pyramid appeared to emerge from the abyss on Friday, March 29, in an optical illusion. The project was masterminded by French artist JR, who previously collaborated with the museum to camouflage the 70-foot-high pyramid in 2016.
— JR (@JRart) March 31, 2019
After three days of work with a team of hundreds of volunteers, the project was unveiled on large screens projected around the courtyard, where visitors could see the full effect of the optical illusion, only visible from the museum’s roof.
More than ten million visitors went to the Louvres in 2018, a record in the museum’s history. And the director of the museum expects to welcome even more of them this year.