Gallery Travels: Louvre Museum

Do yourself a favor and plan two days for a comprehensive viewing of the museum. You walk it to the vast corridor and are bombarded with one awesome piece of art after another. The Louvre is the number one gallery in the world and requires time to see all its beauty. Melinda

The Louvre (English: /ˈlv(rə)/ LOOV(-rə)[2]), or the Louvre Museum (French: Musée du Louvre [myze dy luvʁ] (About this soundlisten)), is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city’s 1st arrondissement (district or ward). Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres (782,910 square feet).[3] In 2018, the Louvre was the world’s most visited art museum, receiving 10.2 million visitors.[1]

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as the Louvre castle in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to urban expansion, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function, and in 1546 Francis I converted it into the main residence of the French Kings.[4] The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versaillesfor his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture.[5] In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years.[6] During the French Revolution, the National Assemblydecreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation’s masterpieces.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The collection was increased under Napoleon and the museum was renamed Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon’s abdication many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and bequests since the Third Republic. The collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

The Nike of Samothrace(Winged Victory), marble, c. 190 BC

Casket, ivory and silver, Muslim Spain, 966

French stained glasspanel, 13th century, depicting Saint Blaise

The Mona Lisa(Leonardo da Vinci), oil on panel, 1503–1519, probably completed while the artist was at the court of Francis I.

The Louvre and Tuileries

Musée du Louvre

Palais du Louvre

Palais des Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries

4 Replies to “Gallery Travels: Louvre Museum”

  1. You are correct in that it does take two days (minimum) to really see and appreciate all of the pieces in the Louvre. I remember my first visit to the Louvre in my twenties. Unfortunately because of the people I was with I only had one day to take everything in, and I had to practically sprint through the place. It was incredible though, to see so many of the pieces of art I had read about and seen pictures of. And the art is not the only masterpieces in the building. The whole place and the various galleries and rooms are too. In particular I remember this intricately carved stone fireplace that still gives me the chills when I think of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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