Museum of The Louvre - Works

Museum of The Louvre - Works (19B)

The Louvre is the museum of all museums.

It is the biggest in the world, and with the remodelling, even bigger. When it was opened at the end of the 13th century it had 2,500 works of art, while today, and thanks above all to the latest remodelling project of 1989, Mitterrand’s Grand Louvre project, there are more than 30,000 items on exhibit.

The collections brought together in the Louvre are massive, both in their richness and in their magnitude. And they are grouped into eight departments: Oriental antiquities, Egyptian antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Islamic art, sculptures, objects of art, paintings and graphic arts.

The Louvre shows works of art dating from before 1848; later works are shown in the Museum of Orsay and contemporary art in the Pompidou Centre.

They say that it would take 9 months to have a look at every item of art.

But so you do not miss one of the most famous, you simply must see La Gioconda, better known as the Mona Lisa, a portrait painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, dated between 1503 and 1506. 

Her enigmatic smile has bewildered half the world, since it is the most famous painting in the Louvre. Even more so today since Dan Brown turned it into a key piece in his bestseller The Da Vinci Code. It is not at all unusual to see many visitors with the book in their hands.

Her smile is a great mystery, just like everything that surrounds the work. Mona in Italian is the contraction of Madonna, Madam. Therefore, Madam Lisa, and it seems confirmed that the woman was Lisa Gherardini, the 24-year-old wife of a Florentine trader: Francesco del Giocondo. Although in reality little is known, and there has been great speculation regarding her smile, from crying over the death of her husband to even being Da Vinci’s lover. 

Leonardo kept the portrait with him until his death, did not stop working on it and, of course, never gave it to his client. From his ownership it passed into the hands of the royal collection of France and today you can see it protected by a reinforced panel and enveloped by a whirlpool of tourists. 

Aphrodite or the Venus de Milo is one of the most important sculptures, and is considered one of the masterpieces of Hellenic Greek art, just like the spectacular winged figure, the Victory of Samothrace which you will see at the front of Room 1, the impressive Horses of Marly by Guillaume Coustou or the enormous Bulls of Khorsabad that protected the Assyrian palace of Sargon II.

Also not to be missed are the great masterpieces of the Renaissance by Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli or Titian.

The Louvre houses works of art of varied civilisations, cultures and periods. Just let yourself marvel at all its art, from pieces from ancient Mesopotamia to masterpieces of European painting by Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya, Zurbarán... A festival for the senses. 

Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman pieces... the archive of antiquities of the museum is quite extraordinary.

Also, with the term objets d’art, objects of art, the museum encompasses a wide range of decorative artistic pieces such as jewels, furniture, tapestries, silverware, glassware, items in ivory, bronze, enamels, porcelain, instruments, armour… more than 8,000 pieces from different periods and countries.

And if this is not enough for you, the Louvre includes another 3 museums: the Museum of Decorative Arts, The Museum of Publicity and, of course, in the capital of fashion there has to be the Museum of Fashion and Fabrics.

So, as you have a lot to see, let’s start bringing the audio part to a conclusion.

Beneath the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, built in 1805 to celebrate the Napoleonic victories, is the Carrousel du Louvre, a large space where you will find an exhibition about the history of the museum, a cafeteria, a restaurant, a bookshop, auditoriums for concerts, conference and films, and the Cyberlouvre with online access to some 20,000 works of art. 

There is also an information centre where you can get guides and audio guides for your visit to the museum, the guide to the masterpieces being very useful. You can also sign up for guided visits in groups in your own language.      

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