The Tower of Babel temporarily in the Louvre

Pieter Bruegel The Elder, The Tower of Babel, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Pieter Bruegel The Elder, The Tower of Babel, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

4 February 2008

Bruegel’s world-famous painting The Tower of Babel will be on show in the Louvre in Paris as part of the exhibition Babylon from 14 March until 2 June 2008. Because this 'Rotterdam' masterpiece is a key work within the exhibition, the museum has made an extraordinary exception in agreeing to lend this fragile work. The painting will soon be on display in the Parisian museum, which attracts 18,500 visitors per day.

As a result of the loan to the Louvre, The Tower of Babel will not be on display at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen from 25 February until 10 June 2008. For regular visitors that will be a strange experience. The Tower of Babel has hung for years as an integral part of the museum’s permanent display, which encompasses art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The painting was donated to the museum in 1958 by the heirs of D.G. van Beuningen, who also lent his name to the museum.

In exchange for Erasmus
In exchange for the loan of The Tower of Babel, the Louvre will lend several masterpieces to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen for the major Erasmus exhibition in the autumn of 2008, including works by Hans Holbein the Younger and Quentin Matsys.
Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536) is one of the greatest Dutchmen of all time and this exhibition will show why his name is still so widely known today. Important themes in his work such as religion, satire, war and education will be represented by paintings from collections at home and abroad. Some of these masterpieces have never previously been seen in the Netherlands. The exhibition Erasmus and the Art of his Time will be shown in Rotterdam from 8 November 2008 until 22 February 2009.

The Tower of Babel by Geert Mul
While The Tower of Babel is in Paris, the museum is displaying the installation Horizons, specially developed for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen by the Rotterdam-based artist Geert Mul (1965), in which The Tower of Babel has a leading role.