Dubai: France will showcase a revolutionary body of work that championed the human intellect in the 18th-century at Expo 2020 Dubai.
All 35 volumes of ‘The Encyclopedie’, or Encyclopaedia in English, edited by Diderot & d'Alembert, will headline the permanent exhibition in the French Pavilion, where visitor experience is largely framed around the theme of light and enlightenment.
The theme unfolds in every nook and cranny of the structure; photovoltaic solar tiles are used on the pavilion facade and humanity's pursuit of knowledge is celebrated through exhibitions.
Where will the ‘Encyclopedie’ be displayed?
Visitors will find the original edition in the heart of the pavilion, where a permanent exhibition titled 'Progress' is made up of three spaces: ‘Light, Enlightenment’, ‘Mobility’ and ‘Connecting minds, Creating the future’.
The loaned volumes from the French National Archives will be showcased in the first space, ‘Light, Enlightenment’.
What is it about?
From 1751 to 1780, the 35 volumes of ‘Encyclopedie’, also known as the ‘Classified Dictionary of Sciences, Arts and Crafts’, were published secretly for their philosophical and scientific content amassed from all over the world.
Hailed as the embodiment of progressive thought, the epochal work fuelled reform movements that eventually led to the French Revolution of 1789.
The project originally began as a French translation of Ephraim Chambers’ ‘Cyclopaedia’, the success of which drove mathematician Jean Le Rond d'Alembert and philosopher Denis Diderot to translate and expand the volume in France.
Well-known contributors of ‘Encyclopedie’ include Enlightenment philosophers Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire.
Brush up on your French history
If the dated archives leave you curious for more, visit the monthly temporary exhibitions at the pavilion to catch the construction timeline of the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral.
- The writer is an intern with Gulf News.