Louvre Museum is the most important museum in France and one of the most important in the entire world. Louvre’s collection comprises more than 300.000 artworks from different periods, of which 35.000 are exposed. It has a dimension of 160.000 m², of which 60.500 are galleries. This info gives us an approach to how huge and impressive the museum is. Located in Paris, only a walk away from Lutece Langue school, the museum receives 8 million visitors every year. And we don’t wonder why.
The history of the museum is as almost as interesting as the works exposed in it. Inaugurated in 1793 (which makes it one of the oldest museums in the world), the museum is located in Louvre Palace, a XII century fortress. Before it turned into the museum as we know it today, it was the residence of some kings as Charles V and Philip II. They used to collect all their art collections in the palace.
After the royal residence was moved to Versailles Palace, the impressive building began its transformation process and changed into the Louvre Museum. The underlying idea was to make artistic works and pieces open for the common public.
We could spend hours talking about the history of the Museum and its many anecdotes. We’re sure you’ve already heard about one of the most important art galleries in the world, and if you haven’t visited it yet you’re probably thinking when can you schedule a visit.
Given the dimensions of the museum and the huge importance of all the artworks contained in it, we’d need days, if not weeks, to see it all. Normally visitors don’t have that much time available and usually can only devote one morning to the museum. Even though there are many more, we have made a selection of some of the most known art works in Louvre museum for French students in Paris who want to enjoy and be delighted with some of the most iconic artworks in the entire world:
1. The Mona Lisa
The most acclaimed painting in Louvre Museum. It was painted between 1503-1519 by the Renaissance Italian polymath Leonardo Da Vinci. It was acquired by the French king Francis the I at the beginning of the XVI century and since then it’s been a property of France. This oil painting on poplar wood brings Da Vinci’s sfumato technique to the highest level. The many theories involving the identity of the woman portrayed, movies, books and reproductions deriving from this artwork make it the most famous painting in the world.
2. The Liberty Guiding the People
This masterpiece was painted by Eugène Delacroix in 1830. This oil painting on canvas represents a scene occurred on the 28th of July of 1830, when Paris’ peoples set up barricades to protest against the king Charles X and his mandates. The Liberty is incarnated in the woman figure, who conducts the people. The work has become a universal icon in the fight for freedom.
3. The Venus de Milo
One of the most representative pieces from the Hellenistic period and one of the most famous sculptures from ancient Greece. Though the author is unknown, there are theories pointing Alexandros of Antioch as the sculptor. It was made at some point between 130 B.C and 100 B.C and discovered in Milos Greek island by a farmer. It is thought to represent Aphrodite, goddess of love, and beauty.
4. Code of Hammurabi
This diorite stele 2,25 meters high dates from the Mesopotamian period. In this stele, they are written the 282 laws of the Hammurabi code, given by the God Shamash to the Hammurabi King. It is one of the oldest existing set of laws and one of the best-preserved.
5. The Seated Scribe
One of the most representative statues from the Old Kingdom of Egypt. It was carved between 2480 B.C and 2.350 B.C and found in Saqqara. It is one of the most famous and well-preserved sculptures dating from the Egyptian civilization. The statue represents an official public worker and was placed in the worship chapel of a grave, the statue was part of the ceremonies and received offerings for the deceased.
6. The Victory of Samothrace
Dating from the Hellenistic period, this masterpiece represents Nike, the victory goddess. It is 2,75 meters high and it was carved with marble at around 190 B.C. The Italian futurist writer Marinetti wrote in 1909 that “a racing car is more beautiful than the Victoria of Samothrace”. We only need to look at her once to assess that this isn’t true and won’t ever be.
7. The Wedding Feast at Cana
This huge and impressive painting dates from 1563 and was painted by the Italian Paolo Veronese. It is a 994 x 677 cm tall oil painting on canvas. Without a doubt, the most monumental artwork at Louvre museum. The painting represents the wedding feast at Cana, in which the Virgin Mary, Jesus and some of his disciples are invited to a wedding at Cana, in Galilee.
8. The Turkish Bath
Painted by the French painter Dominique Ingres in 1862. Oil painting on canvas representing a group of naked women in a harem. Exposed with the title Le Bain Turc, it is considered the masterpiece of the last years of Ingres.
9. The Raft of the Medusa
Oil painting on canvas by the French romantic painter Théodore Géricault in 1819. The painting became a true icon for French romanticism. It portrays the tragedy of the wreck of the Medusa raft, (belonging to the French Navy) which ran aground off the coast of Mauritania on the 2nd of July 1816. At least 147 people were set adrift for 13 days, of those only 15 survived. Géricault accurately and violently conveyed the horror of such tragedy, which became an international scandal.
10. The coronation of Napoleon
Painting by the official painter of Napoleon Bonaparte Jacques-Louis David made between 1805 and 1808. This oil painting on canvas portrays the moment when Napoleon was crowned as emperor of France at Notre Dame cathedral with the presence of Pope Pious VII.
And here’s our selection! We only could choose 10, but the museum has thousands of marvelous art pieces. If you’re a visitor or a student taking a French course in Paris, the Louvre Museum is definitely a must. Enjoy, turn your phone off and open your eyes and heart to art!