Fall in Love with the Great Louvre

Fall in Love with the Great Louvre

The largest and most visited museum in the world is located at Paris, called Musée du Louvre. / Photo by: Marina Vieira Branquinho via Shutterstock

 

A trip to Paris will not be complete without visiting Musée du Louvre, the national museum and art gallery of France. It is the largest and the most visited museum in the world. The museum is known for its unique glass and metal pyramid that serves as the main entrance to the museum, as well as for having a vast collection of artworks and relics that is unparalleled, made of about 38,000 objects from prehistory to the present time. The most popular items in the collection are the art pieces made by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Leonardo da Vinci.

According to Britannica, the museum is officially known as the Great Louvre, or in French, Grand Louvre. It is part of a large palace located on the Right Bank of the Seine, which was also the site of a 12th-century fortress. Tiqet says it is considered as one of the Big Three museums of Paris. The two other most famous French museums are Centre Pompidou and Musée d’Orsay. The most recent expansion of Musée du Louvre is the addition of the department of Islamic arts. This section was constructed by the architects Rudy Riciotti and Mario Bellini.

History

Francis I was an avid collector of art. He had his old castle torn down and had a new house built, which he called the Louvre. All the other kings that followed after him kept expanding the Louvre. During Francis I’s rule, only a small part of the Louvre was finished. This part was designed by the architect Pierre Lescot. Today, this portion is found in the Southwestern part of Cour Carrée.

Louis XIII and Louis XIV made extensive developments to the Louvre during the 17th century. Both of them had obtained impressive artworks with the help of their chief ministers. The Colonnade section of the building was drafted by architects Claude Perrault and Louis Le Vau together with the painter and decorator Charles Le Brun.

In 1682, when Louis the XIV transferred to Versailles, the Louvre became the royal residence no longer. It was in the 18th century when it was turned into a public museum. During that time, the Grand Galerie was being designed by the comte d’Angiviller. More artworks were also contributed to the gallery. The Musée des Arts in the Grand Galerie was made accessible to the public in 1793.

During Napoleon’s rule, the construction of the north wing and the Cour Carrée was started. At the turn of the next century, the two major wings, pavilions, and galleries of the Louvre were fully built. After the structure had been completed, Napoleon III had them exhibited.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Louvre was subjected to renovation. It was expanded and made more accessible for the convenience of the visitors. At present, underneath its central courtyards are a host of parking spaces, offices, shops, exhibition areas, storage areas, a tourist bus depot, a cafeteria, and an auditorium. American architect I.M. Pei created the steel-and-glass pyramid found at the ground-level entrance.

Collections

The Musée du Louvre boasts a wide array of masterpieces and thousands of artworks that came from far-off countries, such as Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. It also houses European art dating until the Revolutions of 1848. Other artworks that were created after that year were sent to Musée d’Orsay in 1896. In addition, it also has an assortment of paintings made by French masters that date from the 15th to the 19th centuries and by Flemish, Dutch, and Italian Renaissance artists.

Paintings aren’t all that the Louvre has. If one explores the department of decorative arts, they’ll find a hoard of French antiques. Artifacts from France include furniture, bronzes, pottery, jewelry, tapestries, and potteries. Meanwhile, the department of Etruscan, Roman, and Greek antiquities of the museum presents a combination of mosaics, sculpture, architecture, pottery, bronzes, and jewelry. The department of Egyptian antiquities founded in 1826 displays relics obtained in the Egyptian campaign of Napoleon. In the department of Near Eastern antiquities, a visitor may discover ancient Mesopotamian masterpieces.

Guided tours

The guided tours that are featured in the museum, as stated in louvre.fr, are, to say the least, interestingly named:  Welcome to Louvre, Another Louvre, and My First Louvre.

Event dates

The convention.paris.info.com says the events currently running at the Musée du Louvre are the “Baron of Campana” and his collections, which is set until February 2019, and “Chiaroscuro printmaking: Cranach, Raphael, Rubens,” which is scheduled until January 14, 2019.

Visiting the Louvre

To have a more enjoyable trip to the Great Louvre, tourists are advised to visit the museum in the evening. By that time, they won’t have to wait too long in the queue because there usually fewer visitors at night. It is also a good time to have a glimpse of the glass pyramid and gaze at the beautiful evening scenery of the Seine and the Cour Carrée. It will be a sight to behold and one to fall in love with. 

 

It was suggested to visit Musée du Louvre at night when the glass pyramid has lit up. / Photo by: tungtopgun via Shutterstock