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Home>Exhibitions & Events>Exhibitions>Music! Echoes of Antiquity

The Louvre-Lens

This exhibition is co-organized by the Musée du Louvre-Lens, the Obra Social “La Caixa” and the Musée du Louvre.
It was planned in partnership with the foreign French institutions: École Française de Rome, École Française d’Athènes and Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale.
It was made possible thanks to the exceptional support of the Fondation Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe.

Let the cymbals ring and the trumpets sound! The Musée du Louvre-Lens presents the very first exhibition devoted to music in the great ancient civilizations, from the East to Rome, through to Egypt and Greece.

Omnipresent in ancient societies, music fulfilled multiple functions. Performed by professional or amateur musicians, it marked the various stages of life, from birth to death. Played in battlefields and at the feasts of the powerful, it was also part of religious rituals and served as an intermediary between humans and the gods. Known by all and practiced by many, music thus provides museumgoers with an original and universal window into lost civilizations and understanding their social, political, and religious structure. From Mesopotamian cylinder seals to monumental Roman reliefs, through to Egyptian papyri and Greek vases, the exhibition presents some 400 artworks of a wide variety. Often fragile, some of the pieces have never been shown to the public. They come from the Louvre collection and around twenty French and international museums, including the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

The exhibition includes some unprecedented audio clips, allowing visitors to listen to the sounds of ancient instruments, as well as the oldest song known in the world to date.

Organized by:

Sibylle Emerit, former member of the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale; Hélène Guichard, Violaine Jeammet and Ariane Thomas, Musée du Louvre; Sylvain Perrot, former member of the École Française d’Athènes, Académie de Strasbourg; Christophe Vendries, Université Rennes II; Alexandre Vincent, former member of the École Française de Rome, Université de Poitiers; Nele Ziegler, CNRS UMR 7192.

Practical information

From September 13, 2017 to January 15, 2018

Musée du Louvre-Lens
Temporary Exhibition Gallery