The Louvre Museum is one of the largest museums in the world – it is also one of the most popular. What makes this museum really stand out from the rest is that it is also considered as a historic monument. The museum acts as a central landmark in Paris, France, as it is located ideally on the Seine’s Right Bank.
There are almost 35 thousand objects that are displayed on the Louvre Museum – these items date back from prehistoric period all the way to the 21st century. This only shows that this museum is indeed one that is filled with history and information; all packed within the 60,600 sq/m area. This museum is also the most visited in the world with a record high of 9.7 million guests in 2012.
History of the Louvre Museum
The Louvre Palace was turned into the museum after it has been used by the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Prior to that though, as recorded, the palace has gone through frequent alterations through the Middle Ages. Record also shows that Charles V had the building converted into residence in the 14th century, and then it was renovated in French Renaissance fashion in 1546 by Francis I. It was Francis who acquired what would be the present museum’s most valued possession, the Mona Lisa.
After Louis XIV moved out of the palace, artists have been allowed to live there and by the middle of the 18th century there was an increase in the number of proposals to build a public gallery where the royal collection can be displayed. On October 14, 1750, Louis XV finally agreed to the proposals and authorized an exhibit of 96 valuable items from the royal collection that were displayed in Galerie royale de peinture in Luxembourg Palace.
The public gallery works by Titian, Van Dyck, Raphael, Veronese, Poussin and Rembrandt. Then, under the rule of Louis XVI, the idea for the royal museum became policy. The collection was broadened but the proposals to turn the Louvre into a museum were not completed until the French Revolution arrived.
In May of 1791, the Louvre was finally turned into a museum and it was declared by the National Assembly to be a place where monuments of arts and science be gathered together. The louvre museum opening finally happened on August 10, 1793. For three days a week, the public had free access to the museum. The initial collection that was put on display was comprised of 184 art objects and 537 paintings; most of which were taken from royal collections and the rest were Church property. During this time, artists were still in residence at the Louvre. The building was closed in may of 1796 and was reopened on July 14, 1801.
Importance of the Musee du Louvre
The Louvre Palace houses the Louvre Museum. The palace was built under the rule of Philip II in the late part of the 12th century and originally intended as a fortress. At the museum basement, remnants of the old fortress can still be seen.
There have been many renovations, improvements and extensions done in the palace until the present look was achieved. It was in 1682 when the palace was started to be used as display storage for the royal collection when Louis XIV decided to make the Palace of Versailles as his household. In 1692, the set of ancient Roman and Greek sculpture was added to the collection. That same year, the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture occupied the building. For the next decade the Académie took over the building until the National Assembly announced that it should be turned into a museum for the nation’s masterpieces.
Famous Displays at the Musee Louvre
The Louvre Museum houses around 35,000 masterpieces – from prehistory items to contemporary art works. Probably one of the most famous displays at the museum is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. It is after all, the world’s most well-known painting, with that mysterious smile and revolutionary illusionism. This work of art has been displayed at the museum since the year 1797 and every year, millions of people make the pilgrimage to France just to see the original.
Other popular displays at the Louvre Museum are:
- The Winged Victory or the Nike of Samothrace
- Raft of the Medusa (Théodore Géricault)
- Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss (Antonio Canova)
- The Seated Scribe (Louvre Egyptian antiquities department)
- Death of Sardanapalus (Eugène Delacroix)
- Liberty Leading the People (Eugène Delacroix)
- Sleeping Hermaphroditos (a Roman copy)
- The Moneylender and His Wife (Quentin Metsys)
- Venus de Milo (Discovered on Milos Island)
- Rebellious Slave (Michelangelo)
- La Grande Odalisque (Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres)
- Pyramide du Louvre (I.M. Pei) – recognized as the museum’s glittering landmark
The collection at the Louvre covers art from the Western world (from the medieval time to 1848), formative works gathered from the ancient world civilizations, and Islamic works of art. The collection is divided into eight Departments, and each department was defined and shaped by the activities of the donors, curators, and collectors. The eight departments are; Paintings (215), Sculptures (83), Decorative Arts (262), Egyptian Antiquities (207), Near Eastern Antiquities (182), Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities (275), Prints and Drawings (186) and Islamic Arts (7).
The Louvre Museum is indeed a very popular landmark in France. It stands tall and proud at the center of Paris and it houses some of the famous artworks in the world. This museum is definitely a place to see if ever you are going to spend a French holiday. What makes this museum really important is that it also contains the most valuable royal collections and it was a very significant part of the history of the royal family.
If you do not want to wait in line, you can get your Louvre tickets online. You need to understand though that the tickets should be picked up at the physical stores of the selling websites.
Author: Tajirul Haque
Tajirul Haque is a travel enthusiast and freelance travel writer on Upwork. Having written hundreds of travel articles on so many travel destinations around the world for his clients, Tajirul started Top Travel Lists back in September 2014. Travel writing is his passion and he always loves to write about a new destination as it allows him to know about more beautiful places the planet has to offer. He is always available for freelance travel writing opportunities.