Louvre Museum (Paris, France)
Construction of the Musée du Louvre
The Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum) was constructed as a fortress in Paris, France in 1190 by King Philippe-Auguste to protect the city from Viking raids. During the reign of King François I in the first half of the 16th century, the fortified tower and dungeon were removed and replaced by a Renaissance-style building. For the next four hundred years, a number of French monarchs improved upon the structure, enlarging it greatly. In 1989, a glass pyramid-shaped entrance designed by architect I.M. Pei, from which all galleries can be reached, was opened.
The Louvre's Major Alterations
1515 to 1547
Reign of François I
Catherine de Medici
1589 to 1610
Reign of Henri IV
1610 to 1654
Reign of Louis XIII
1654 to 1715
Reign of Louis XIV
1804 to 1815
Reign of Napoleon I
1852 to 1870
Reign of Napoleon
I.M. Pei, architect
The Tuileries Quarter of Paris
The Louvre Museum is located in the Tuileries Quarter of Paris, an area filled with elegant squares, street arcades, and courtyards. It is situated on the Right Bank of the River Seine in the 1st arrondissement (district).
The Tuileries Quarter derived its name from the palace and royal residence built in 1554 by Catherine de Medici, the widow of King Henri II of France. The palace, in turn, derived its name from the tuileries— kilns—which had been located on the site before construction began.
Hours—Call to Verify
Monday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday: 9:00am – 9:45pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Friday: 9:00am – 9:45pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
January 1, April 12, May 1, May 31,
July 14, November 1, December 25
Musée du Louvre
75001 Paris, France
01 40 20 5317
Varies—call before visiting
The Louvre's Collection
The Louvre's collection can be traced back to King François I, who reigned from 1515 to 1547. The king purchased many Italian paintings, including La Gioconda (La Joconde—Mona Lisa).
La Joconde (Mona Lisa)
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Viewing One of the Most Important Art Collections in the World
The Louvre opened to the public in 1793, after the end of the French Revolution. The collection has grown from only 200 works of art during the reign of King Louis IV (1643 to 1715) to being one of the largest and most important art collections in the world.
The collection is best approached from the main entrance, located beneath I.M. Pei's glass pyramid.
Corridors fan out from the entrance to each of the museum's wings. The works are displayed on three floors.
Paintings and sculptures are arranged by country of origin. Antiquities and objets d'art are arranged in departments—Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Oriental, and Roman.
Highlights of the Louvre's Collection
The Musée du Louvre has an extensive collection of great works of art. It is impossible for me to do more than showcase a selection of pieces. I apologize in advance if your favorite painting or sculpture from the museum's collection has not been included in my article.
Aphrodite from Melos (“Venus de Milo”)
This statue, carved out of marble from the island of Paros, was found in 1820 on the island of Milos in Greece. It was created in the Hellenistic Age at the end of the 2nd century BC. The Marquis de Rivière gave the statue to King Louis XVIII of France in 1821. It has been in the Louvre's collection since that date.
The Fortune Teller
The Fortune Teller was painted circa 1595 by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), usually referred to simply as Caravaggio. The young man in the painting is Mario Minniti (1577-1640) from Syracuse, Italy. Minniti served as a model in a number of Cavavaggio's early works. The woman is a gypsy who was passing by in the street. Caravaggio called her in as he was about to create another painting using Minniti as his model. Caravaggio had been advised to use classical models for his works. The Fortune Teller proves that it wasn't necessary for him to do so.
Self-Portrait of Vincent van Gogh
I like this self-portrait the best of all those painted by Vincent van Gogh. It was painted in 1890 two months before van Gogh shot himself through the chest. I can clearly see pain deep within the artist in this painting.
Winged Nike (Victory) of Samothrace
The Winged Victory (Nike) of Samothrace was sculpted of marble from the island of Paros in Greece circa 190 BC. It is thought by historians to commemorate a naval victory in Rhodes, another Greek island. The statue was discovered by Charles Champoiseau, a French diplomat and amateur archaeologist during an expedition in 1863 on Samothrace, a Greek island near Turkey's Dardanelles Straits. In September 2013, the Louvre began a cleaning and restoration of the statue, which is expected to last nine months.
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