The Kremlin's Assumption belfry is accommodating, among other Louvre wonderful exhibits, antique objects of art made of stone, those created in the Middle Ages and in Byzantium in the 10-11th centuries, and oriental objects of art of the 13th century. The exposition is also featuring works of art made by Paris, Milan, Venice and Florence masters in the 15th-17th centuries. The Louvre masterpieces on display at the Kremlin also include silver- and gold-mounted carved jars. In Paris, this collection is displayed in the Louvre's famous Apollo gallery.
This collection used to belong to Louis XIV, the "Sun King" of France. The magnificent monarch was a patron of many arts following the lead of his predecessors of the Renaissance period. He ran France from 1643 to 1715 and adopted decisions crucial for the development of art, sculpture, applied arts, literature, theatre and ballet.
A lot of books and articles have been written in Russia about the "Sun King." Russian historians thoroughly studied his policies. "The Cabbala of Hypocrites" (Kabala Svyatosh), the play about the psychological stand-off between Louis XIV and Moliere written by the prominent 20th century writer Mikhail Bulgakov, has been on at the Moscow Academic Art Theatre (MKhAT). Besides, Alexander Duma's novels represent a source of information about the prominent ruler for young Russians. The French writer relied equally on his fancy and historical evidence when he was writing the novels. A few films about the Sun King were made last century. The legendary actor Leonardo DiCaprio played the part of Louis XIV and thereby sparked massive interest in the king among young people.
However, Russians who are more or less acquainted with the king's biography are yet to study the legacy of his magnificent era. The current exposition which is a joint project of the Moscow Kremlin and the Louvre offers an opportunity for studying.
"We are developing relations with the Louvre. Our exhibits were displayed at its exposition in 2002, the Era of Abundance: Decorative Art under Louis XIII and Anna of Austria," a Moscow Kremlin directorate official told RIA Novosti. "The current exposition is part of the programme to show European kings' treasures in the Kremlin." The Moscow Kremlin Museum has held talks on the matter with museums in Dresden, Prague and Vienna. France was interested in exhibiting a Kremlin collection of icons in frames and ambassadorial gifts to Russian tsars in the Louvre in 2005-2006.
Collections of Europe's royal treasures will be exhibited at the Moscow Kremlin every year, while the museum has also been arranging expositions abroad. "We arranged rather large-scale expositions in the United States, which covered the period from the 17th to the early 20th centuries and were intended for mass audiences," said the Moscow Kremlin's directorate. A unique Moscow Kremlin collection is still being displayed at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau exhibition hall. It is featuring 300 exhibits ranging from those made in the 12th century to those created in the early 20th century. They are silver and gold objects of applied art, icons, ambassadorial gifts, portraits and Russian monarchs' ceremonial garments. The exposition covers all pages in the Kremlin's history.
The Moscow Kremlin's west European silverware was displayed in Sweden, Poland and at the German National Museum in Nuremberg. Three Kremlin masterpieces were also "on tour" of New York when they were displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibition "Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557) that featured icons, frescos, miniatures, fabrics and jewellery.
The Moscow Kremlin that was reputed as a closed museum is increasingly opening up its treasures for the public and acquainting it with foreign masterpieces.