Louvre Museum, Paris

This is a great museum that has art beyond your imagination, including the Mona Lisa. What an amazing place. We spent over 6 hours looking at pieces from Ancient Egypt/Greece/Rome, France, Italy, England, the Flemish, Dutch, and Renaissance, It is impossible to see all that it has to offer even if you spent an entire week there so it is best to hit the high points and the exhibits that you find most interesting on your first visit and save some of the least interesting exhibits to you for another time.

The sheer size of the museum can be overwhelming. We went to the museum’s website (www.louvre.fr) and printed out their thematic trail for the masterpieces. It tells the directions to get from the ticket purchase to the Mona Lisa, Venus de Mille (Aphrodite) as well as several noticeable other works. There is a description of each piece of art. We found that this allowed us to get the most of this wonderful Museum. The Louvre itself is a beauty. The building seems to go on forever, and is spectacular in every sense of the word.

The Musée du Louvre is the largest national museum of France, the most visited museum in the world. It’s located on the Right Bank of the Seine and has nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century.
The museum is housed in the Palais du Louvre, which began as a fortress in the late 12th century. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. The museum opened on August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings.

The painting collection has more than 6,000 works from the 13th century to 1848. Nearly two-thirds are by French artists. The Italian paintings are from the collections of Francis I and Louis XIV, others are unreturned artwork from the Napoleonic era, and some were purchased. The collection began with Francis I, who acquired works from Italian masters such as Raphael and Michelangelo, and brought Leonardo da Vinci to his court. We loved seeing the world famous Mona Lisa. We were not surprised it’s protected by glass.

The museum is especially gorgeous at night, when the whole plaza is romantically lit. I don’t care what anyone else says about the pyramid entrance, I think it’s stunning, and the underground entry complex is highly efficient. We saw a real mummy and the tomb of Ramses in the Egyptian section. I have no words to express after seeing these great works of art and remnants of great civilizations.

Once we saw the must see pieces we relaxed a bit to see other statues and painting. We TOTTALY loved this place and would like to return once kids are more grown up and have more understanding of the history displayed here.

The Louvre was originally a castle built by one of the first kings of France, Philip II, during the 1100s. According to linguistic analysis, there is some evidence to prove that the Louvre may be the site of a previous hunting lodge, but this is in question. At any rate, throughout the Middle Ages, French kings added to the site, making the building substantially larger. 

As the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, the French kings began to take a greater interest in the arts, buying numerous pieces, including the Mona Lisa. Louis XIV, after moving to Versailles, even opened the Louvre as a court exclusively for his favorite artists. Careful to store their newly acquired valuables, few could think of a better location to stash the masterpieces than the Louvre.

By the end of the 1700s, trouble was on the horizon for the French kings. While the French people at large had demanded, among other requests, access to the artwork (as the British had just established the British Museum the same century), the king gave them access to only a handful. 

Therefore, it is not surprising that one of the first acts of the French Revolution was the transformation of the whole of the Louvre into a new museum for all to enjoy. Also, during the Napoleonic Wars, pieces from abroad were brought back to Paris, including Laocoon and His Sons. Such action would cause problems once France had lost those wars, as many of the works were forcibly removed from the museum by the governments of their original countries.

Despite the Restoration of the Monarchy, the Louvre remained a public point of pride, and the government made a point of further expanding the collection. It was during this time that Venus de Milo, among the most famous works of classical statuary, would arrive at the museum. 

Even throughout the turmoil leading to the rule of Napoleon III in the 1850s and 1860s, the museum’s collection continued to grow. By this point, the Louvre had started to solicit more private donations. Among the most generous would come from the Rothschild family of financiers.

With the threat of war with Germany present throughout much of the early 1900s, the Louvre was unable to gain new items for its collection at the rate that it had once done. Days before Germany invaded Poland in 1939, French trucks were already escorting the best work of the Louvre away from Paris. Hidden away throughout houses in rural France was an incalculable wealth of art spanning the whole existence of human history. Only a few statues were left to the Germans.

 This place is amazing and has a very significant place in French history.



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