The Louvre, located in Paris, is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. It houses some of the art history’s most wonderful collections.
The museum welcomes millions of visitors from across the globe every year. It located towards the banks of the Seine River of Paris. Attractive to the eyes, it is a gargantuan and baroque-style palace. Regarded as one of the biggest and most important tourist attraction centers in the city.
History of the Louvre museum
The history of the Louvre dates back to 1190 when it was initially built as a fortress. In the 16th century, it was reconstructed to function as a royal palace. In the 16th century, King Francis I established the first collection of the Louvre museum. HE bought the Mona Lisa painting, now one of the most famous works of art in the museum. An expansion of the palace has continued to take place over the years. At present, its total area is 652,300 square feet (60,000 square meters). The royal residence was moved to Versailles in 1793 (the year of the French Revolution), by Louise XIV. The Louvre’s private royal collection then became accessible to the public. The palace turned into an art museum, showcasing artifacts and royal collection. Under the reign of Napoleon, the museum became widely known as Musee Napoleon. His defeat at Waterloo brought about the museum’s return to its initial name.
The art collection
The Louvre has a very famous art collection. There are over 35,000 works of art on display.
- The Egyptian antiques
- Crown jewels
- Paintings by the Old Masters
- Ancient Greek and Roman sculptures
- And several other artifacts of French nobles.
The works on display are usually categorized into eight departments:
- Egyptian Antiquities
- Near Eastern Antiquities
- Etruscan and Roman Antiquities
- Islamic Art
- Decorative Arts
- Prints and Drawings.
Leonardo da Vinci’s ”Mona Lisa” is the Louvre’s most famous work. It is a small, iconic painting with an enigmatic smile that attracts hordes of tourists. The painting (21 by 30 inches - 53 by 77 centimeters), is guarded and protect by bullet-proof glass. This is done in order to prevent it from being stolen (again). An incident that occurred 1911, before it was later recovered in 1913.
Another beautiful work of art that visitors flock to see at the museum is the statue of Aphrodite or “Venus de Milo”. It is on the ground floor.
There are other popular works of art at the museum like “Liberty Leading the People”, a work of art by Eugene Delacroix. Which portrays the bare-breasted goddess of Liberty dominating an invasion in the French Revolution. It's assumed to have inspired “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo, and “The Coronation of Napoleon” by Jacques-Louis David, which was commissioned by Napoleon, and brings to memory the Louvre’s history.
“Code of Hammurabi”, “The Dying Slave”, and “Psyche Revived by Cupid Kiss”, an 18th-century sculpture by Antonia Canova, are some other works of art at the Louvre.
Also, the Louvre Pyramid, a modern glass pyramid structure constructed in 1989 by I.M Pei. The construction now serves as the most famous entrance to the museum. The beautiful and sophisticated design allows light into the lobby.
Visiting the Louvre
One visit is not sufficient to reveal the entirety of the Louvre to a visitor. This is due to its massive size and scale of the collection. There is the “Masterpieces Visitor Trail”, which is timed at around 90 minutes and encompasses the ten most popular works. It helps visitors to plan their visit.
Visitors can visit the museum any day except Tuesdays, International Workers’ Day (May 1), January 1, and December 25. Time to visit on Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday is between 9 am and 6 pm. On Wednesday and Friday, it is between 9am and 9.45pm.
15 euros is the admission price to the museum as of 2013. However, for those under 18, and those with proper documentation, admission is free.
A visit to the Louvre will surely be a memorable experience for you!