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Royal Treasures from the Louvre
Cup made with enameled gold, diamonds, sapphires and rubies

It really isn’t polite to stare, but we give you permission to unabashedly gawk at the Royal Treasures from the Louvre exhibit at the Legion of Honor.

The stunning collection features decorative arts commissioned and collected by the French monarchy from the time of Louis XIV until the Revolution of 1789. And you will not be able to take your eyes off some of the pieces on display: intricate tapestries, gem-encrusted cups, jewel coffers, elaborate tureens, Marie Antoinette’s precious vases and more.

Showcasing some of the finest objects saved from that era, the exhibit tells the story of French patronage of the arts during the 17th and 18th centuries, when Paris was the epicenter of innovative design. And it imparts some of the controversy that came along with those fortunes, of course. One of our favorite items--a coffee grinder made with yellow, rose and green gold--was a gift from Louis XV to his mistress Madame de Pompadour.

The exhibit is the first in a series of unprecedented collaborations between the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Musée du Louvre, an exclusive agreement that will lead to other exciting exchanges of artwork over the next five years. Some of the goods shown at the Legion of Honor have never been seen in the U.S. before; a few have never even left France.

So go ahead and ogle: You’ll be in good company.

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