Art Attractions: All About the Louvre
Art enthusiasts cherish the Louvre Museum for its awe-inspiring monuments and artistic exhibits. The Louvre Museum heralds as the largest museum in the history of mankind. In fact, it houses thirty-five thousand relics from the Neolithic period to the 19th century. Each of the artistic exhibits that reside within the museum spreads across an area of over six hundred thousand square meters. Visitors must pass through the Louvre Palace, a late twelfth century fortress built for Philip the Second, to explore the museum. In fact, visitors can still see the remnants of the fortress as they enter the shadows of the museum's basement. Over the years, renovators extended the original Louvre Palace to form its current infrastructure.
After the French Revolution, the National Assembly announced the conversion of the Louvre Palace into a museum to display the countless masterpieces created by French artists. The museum officially opened on August 10th, 1793 with an artistic exhibition displaying five hundred thirty-seven paintings. Many of these artistic creations were seized from royal and church property. It closed down for a period of five years between 1796 and 1801 due to structural problems. The Louvre Museum expanded in its size during the reign of Napoleon, where it was renamed after him. Many of the works seized by Napoleon's armies were returned back to their rightful owners after his defeat at Waterloo. Louis XVIII and Charles X increased the collection size at the Louvre, whereby the museum gained twenty thousand more pieces. Since the 3rd Republic, collections have gradually grown by the humble donations of those who owned these prized possessions.
In 2008, a survey of the collection revealed the museum's management team divided it according to eight departments and styles, including the Near-Eastern Antiquities, Grecian and Roman Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Sculpture, Islamic Artistic Creations, Prints and Drawings, Paintings, and Decorative Arts. The Egyptian Antiquities comprises over fifty thousand pieces, including artifacts from the Nile civilizations. This department further divides the Ancient Egyptian antiquities according to their time period. It houses mummies, clothing, jewelry, games, musical instruments, weapons, and papyrus scrolls. The Near-Easter Antiquities department presents an overview of the first settlements before the arrival of Islam. It explores the artistic and monumental pieces of the Levant, Persia, and Mesopotamia. It also contains exhibits from Sumer and Akkad.
The Greek, Etruscan, and Roman department of the Louvre Museum displays artistic pieces from the Mediterranean Basin dating back from the Cycladic period to the vanishing of the Roman Empire. The collection contains marble sculptures, bronze figures, limestone jewelry pieces, classical paintings, and pottery. The Islamic art collection comprises of ceramics, glassware, metalware, objects made from ivory and wood, carpet, and unique textiles. The Islamic art collection includes roughly five thousand works and one thousand shards. Other works of art include epic books of poems and literature. Popular sculpture comprises of pottery created before 1850 that does not belong to the Greek, Etruscan, and Roman department. The Louvre has always housed sculptures since its inception; however, it only included one hundred pieces until it branched out centuries later. Other Louvre departments house decorative arts and paintings that span from the Middle Ages to the mid-19th century. Each of these departments has eye-catching relics, such as stained glass vases, ceramic pots, enamel goblets, and gold jewelry. The paintings consist of works created by infamous French and Italian masters, such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. The prints and drawings department houses work on paper, canvas, and papyrus.
Due to its massive size and popularity, the Louvre houses infamous works unparalleled by other museums in the world. For instance, the sculpture department displays the Seated Scribe, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Dying Slave by Michelangelo, and the Virgin and Child from the Sainte-Chapelle. In addition, it holds invaluable prints and drawings, such as The Code of Hammurabi, the Mesha Stele, and the Dendera zodiac. However, the Louvre holds the most extensive and invaluable collection of portraits, such as the Ship of Fools by Hieronymus Bosch, the Death of the Virgin and Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt and his Page by Caravaggio, Bacchus, Mona Lisa, and Saint John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci, and Self-portrait with a friend, Saint George, Saint Michael, and Saint Michael Vanquishing Satan by Raphael.
- The Louvre Museum: The official site of the Louvre Museum.
- The Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre): A comprehensive list of the galleries and famous works on display at the Louvre Museum.
- The Louvre Museum - Photo Gallery: Saint John's University provides a photo gallery of the art exhibitions located at the Louvre.
- The History of the Louvre Museum: A complete historical profile of the world's most famous museum, including its popular eight departments that house invaluable masterpieces crafted since the beginning of civilization.
- The Rothschild’s Legacy: A webpage that describes the significant donations that the Rothschild’s made to the Louvre.
- The Louvre Museum – Department of Islamic Art: A brief article that describes the artistic display of Islamic art at the centralized department located in the Louvre Museum.
- The History of the Code of Hammurabi: A brief history of the Code of Hammurabi with a photograph of its exhibit now preserved in Louvre, France.
- The Mona Lisa: A picture and a brief description of the most valued and cherished painting of all time.
- The Myth of Mona Lisa: The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) clarifies the tale behind the Mona Lisa.
- Must-Sees at the Louvre Museum: National Geographic provides an extensive list of must-see attractions at the Louvre Museum.
- Musée du Louvre, Paris: A brief description of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, including links to the online exhibits that display invaluable works.
- Roman Art from the Louvre Museum (PDF): A comprehensive document that covers the artistic pieces housed at the Louvre Museum and provides additional information about their historical origins.
- Imaging Artifacts in the Louvre Museum (PDF): A scientific document that introduces principles on imaging artifacts that Louvre Museum.
- Roman seats in the Louvre Museum: A series of images capturing Roman seats housed at the Louvre Museum.
- About Caravaggio: A brief biography about one of the most world's most famous painters who has numerous portraits hanging at the Louvre Museum.
- The Louvre: A university student describes his trip to the Louvre Museum, and lists pictures of some of the exhibits.
- Faces of the Week: The Mona Lisa: The BBC covers the historical background of the mysterious painting known as the Mona Lisa.
- Leonardo Da Vinci Biography: A complete biography on Leonardo da Vinci, including a slide show that displays photographs of his galleries at the Louvre Museum.
- Louvre History & Politics: A timeline of the history of the Louvre as an archaeological site.