Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites

Louvre Museum – Virtual Tour

Louvre Museum

Louvre Museum – Virtual Tour

The Louvre or the Louvre Museum (French: Musée du Louvre) is one of the world’s largest museums and a historic monument in Paris, France.

A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine. Its collection is nearly 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square meters (782,910 square feet).

The Louvre is one of the world’s most visited museum with over 7 million visitors.

The Louvre Museum is one of the world’s largest museums and a historical site in Paris, France. The Louvre is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century.

Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Today the Louvre has evolved from Fortress to Palace to mega-museum.

A Virtual Tour of the Louvre

Louvre Paris Highlights – Virtual walkthrough

Highlights of the Louvre

A Tour of Paintings in the Louvre Museum

The Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci 

The “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci is a portrait which he started in Florence around 1503. It is thought to be of Lisa Gherardini, wife of a Florentine cloth merchant.

Leonardo took this painting with him to France when he joined the court of the French King, and after his death, the picture entered King François I’s collection. 

The Mona Lisa then became part of The Louvre collection in 1797 and is considered to be one of the world’s best-known paintings, the most written about and the most parodied works of art in the world.

Ruggiero Freeing Angelica” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

“Ruggiero Freeing Angelica” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was inspired by the 16th-century Italian epic poem called “Orlando Furioso” by Ariosto and depicts Ruggiero saving Angelica.

Ruggiero is portrayed as the knight riding a hippogriff, which is a legendary creature half horse and half eagle. According to the poem, the hero is riding near Brittany’s coast, where he finds a beautiful woman who is chained to rock on the Isle of Tears.

She has been abducted and stripped naked by barbarians who have left her there as a human sacrifice to a sea monster.

The Valpinçon Bather” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

“The Valpinçon Bather” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is a female nude in a chaste pose. The curves in the green draperies accentuate her neck and the curves of her back and legs.

With the white linen in front of her and the folds of the bedsheets, this painting lacks the overt sexuality of other Ingres paintings. Ingres has masterfully depicted a calm and measured sensuality, which is a masterpiece of harmony and light.

Ingres returned to the form of this figure several times in his life.

The Turkish Bath” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

“The Turkish Bath” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres depicts a group of nude women in the bath of a harem and is painted in a highly erotic style.

Ingres has successfully evoked the form of both the Near East and earlier western styles associated with the mythological subject matter. Painted originally in a rectangular format, Ingres altered the painting by cutting the picture to its present tondo form.

Fortunately, photographs of the art in its original size have survived.

Grande Odalisque” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

“Grande Odalisque” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres depicts an odalisque. An odalisque was a chambermaid in the sequestered living quarters used by wives and concubines in the Ottoman sultan’s household. 

Grande Odalisque attracted extensive criticism when it was first exhibited. It became renowned for the elongated proportions and departure from the restrictions of anatomical realism.

This work signified Ingres’ break from Neoclassicism and shifted towards exotic Romanticism. Ingres favored long lines to convey curvature and sensuality and the very skillful use of light and shadow to sculpture proportions.

Perseus and Andromeda” by Joachim Wtewael

“Perseus and Andromeda” by Joachim Wtewael dramatically portray the Greek mythological story of Andromeda. Perseus is depicted flying above on his winged horse Pegasus.

Perseus used his sword to attack the sea monster, who turns to attack the hero. Andromeda’s white body is contrasted with symbols of death on the ground and depicted as pure innocence.

 In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of the Ethiopian King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia.

The beautiful but the vain Queen, Cassiopeia’s hubris led her to boast that Andromeda is more beautiful than the sea nymphs, who were the daughters of Poseidon, the god of the sea.

When the nymphs heard of her claims, they protested to their father, who retaliated by calling up a sea monster called Cetus to wreak havoc on Ethiopia, placing the kingdom at risk.

In response, the Queen, together with the King, decided to sacrifice her daughter, Princess Andromeda, to the monster.

Self-portrait with Her Daughter, Julie by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

“Self-portrait with Her Daughter, Julie” by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun portrays the prominent French portrait painter who was a friend and favorite artist of Marie Antoinette.

In 1780, Vigée-Le Brun gave birth to a daughter, Jeanne Julie Louise, whom she called Julie. In 1787, she caused a public scandal when this painting was exhibited at the Salon because she was shown smiling open-mouthed, which was in contravention of conventions going back to antiquity. 

The court gossip-sheet Mémoires secrets commented: “An affectation which artists, art-lovers and persons of taste have been united in condemning, and which finds no precedent among the Ancients, is that in smiling, [Madame Vigée LeBrun] shows her teeth.”

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne” by Leonardo da Vinci

“The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne” by Leonardo da Vinci depicts the grandmother of Jesus, her daughter, the Virgin Mary, and the infant Jesus.

Leonardo’s composition depicts the mother-daughter relationship between the two women. St Anne is looking at Mary, as Mary is sitting on her lap, and Mary is looking into her Christ’s eyes. 

Christ is shown grappling with a sacrificial lamb symbolizing his Passion. The painting and its theme had long preoccupied Leonardo, who took many years to work on this painting. Leonardo struggled to capture their relationships and personalities.

Louis XIV of France” by Hyacinthe Rigaud

“Louis XIV of France” by Hyacinthe Rigaud is a large portrait of the 63-year-old French King in his Coronation Robes. Louis XIV kept it hanging at Versailles, and it became the “official portrait” of Louis XIV.

This portrait set the standard and formula for future state portraits. Rigaud signed and dated this painting with the words “Painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud in 1701” on the column just above the goddess of Justice. 

The King occupies the central space of the painting, whose composition consists of a column, the King, and the throne. The drama of the scene is accentuated by a heavy silk draped curtain.

The large marble pillar is an evocation of power that unites earthly and heavenly powers.

The Massacre at Chios” by Eugène Delacroix

“The Massacre at Chios” by Eugène Delacroix is a massive painting showing the horror and destruction visited on the Island of Chios. A display of suffering, military might, ornate costumes, terror, and death in a scene of widespread desolation.

There is no heroic figure to counterbalance the massacre and the hopelessness of the victims, and there is no suggestion of hope among the ruin and despair. 

The painting reflects the reality of the Chios massacre. It represents the killing of twenty thousand citizens and the forced deportation into the slavery of almost all the surviving seventy thousand inhabitants by Ottoman troops during the Greek War of Independence in 1822.

The Battle of San Romano” by Paolo Uccello

“The Battle of San Romano” by Paolo Uccello is a set of three paintings depicting events that took place at a battle between Florentine and Sienese forces in 1432.

This painting is exhibited at the Galleria Uffizi, Florence, and the other two companion paintings are shown at the National Gallery, London, and the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

The three pictures were designed to be hung high on three different walls in one large room, and the perspective was created for that purpose, which accounts for anomalies in the perspective when viewed at standard gallery height.

Virgin of the Rocks” by Leonardo da Vinci

“Virgin of the Rocks” by Leonardo da Vinci depicts the Madonna and Child Jesus with the infant John the Baptist and an angel in a rocky setting, which provides the painting with its unusual name.

This painting is in the Louvre and is one of two versions of this picture, which have the same name and similar composition but with several differences in the detail.

A later version of the two paintings is in the National Gallery of London. The composition shows a grouping of four figures, the Virgin Mary, the Christ child, the infant John the Baptist, and an angel arranged into a triangular formation.

The setting is a background of rocks and a distant landscape of mountains and water.

“The Death of Sardanapalus” by Eugène Delacroix

“The Death of Sardanapalus” by Eugène Delacroix depicts the tale of Sardanapalus, a king of Assyria, who, according to an ancient story, exceeded all previous rulers in sloth and decadence.

He spent his whole life in self-indulgence, and when he wrote his epitaph, he stated that physical gratification is the only purpose of life. His debauchery caused dissatisfaction within the Assyrian empire, allowing conspiracies against him to develop.

Sardanapalus failed to defeat the rebels, and then enemies of the empire join the battle against him. After Sardanapalus’ last defenses collapsed and to avoid falling into the hands of his enemies, Sardanapalus ordered a colossal funeral pyre.

On the funeral pyre were piled all his gold and valuables. He also ordered that his eunuchs and concubines be added to the fire, to burn them and himself to death.

The King’s last act of destroying his valued possessions, including people and goods, in a funerary pyre, demonstrated his final depravity.

Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” by Antonio Canova

“Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” by Antonio Canova shows the mythological lovers at a moment of high emotion. It represents the god Cupid in the height of love and tenderness, immediately after awakening Psyche with a kiss.

Having been awakened, Psyche reaches up toward her lover, Cupid, as he gently holds her by supporting her head and breast.

 This sculpture exemplifies Antonio Canova’s craftsmanship and skills in carving marble that provides a superb contrast between the smooth skin of Psyche and Cupid as compared to the surrounding elements.

The detached draping around Psyche’s lower body, emphasizes the difference between the texture of skin and drapery.

Liberty Leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix

“Liberty Leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix commemorates the July Revolution of 1830 in France.

A woman wearing the Phrygian cap of liberty, personifying the concept of Liberty leads the people forward over a barricade and the bodies of the fallen, holding the flag of the French Revolution in one hand and a bayonetted musket with the other. Delacroix depicted Liberty as both an allegorical goddess-figure and a woman of the people.

The corpses at her feet act as a pedestal, from which Liberty strides, barefoot, and bare-breasted. This painting is seen as a marker to the end of the Age of Enlightenment and the start of the Romantic Era.

The Arcadian Shepherds” by Nicolas Poussin”

The Arcadian Shepherds” by Nicolas Poussin depicts a pastoral scene with idealized shepherds from classical antiquity gathered around a tomb.

The painting’s original title was “Et in Arcadia ego,” a phrase that translates to “Even in Arcadia; there am I.” The traditional interpretation of this term is that “I” refers to Death, and “Arcadia” means a perfect land.

It is thus a reflection on mortality, especially the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all worldly goods and pursuits.

The Lacemaker” by Johannes Vermeer

“The Lacemaker” by Johannes Vermeer shows a young lacemaker concentrating on her task. She is holding up a pair of bobbins in her left hand as she carefully places a pin in the pillow on which she is making her bobbin lace.

The girl is set against a blank wall to eliminate any distractions from the image of concentration and focus. The techniques of lacemaking are portrayed in detail and accurately.

Vermeer may have used a camera obscura while composing the work. Many of the optical effects that are typical of photography can be seen, particularly the blurring of the foreground.

By rendering areas of the canvas as out-of-focus, Vermeer can suggest a depth of field in a manner unusual of Dutch Baroque painting of the era.

The Money Changer and His Wife” by Quentin Matsys

“The Money Changer and His Wife” by Quentin Matsys depicts a man who is weighing the jewels and pieces of gold at a table. His wife sits next to him, distract from her book.

The couple is not dressed as members of the nobility, but rather as well-to-do citizens of Antwerp, where the painting was made.

At the time, Antwerp had grown in population with the influx of many southern immigrants fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.

Among this international community, there was a demand for money-changers and money-lenders, as international commerce was increasing in the port city.

The wife is turning a page in the religious devotion book showing an illustration of the Virgin and Child.

The Fortune Teller” by Caravaggio

“The Fortune Teller” by Caravaggio shows a pretentiously dressed boy, having his palm read by a gypsy girl. The boy looks with anticipation as he gazes into her face, and she returns his gaze.

The boy’s feathered hat, the gloves, and the oversized dagger immediately tell us that the boy is not sophisticated or experienced.

The gypsy girl with her light linen shirt and her exotic wrap is also intended to represent a “type” rather than as a real person.

The Italian Baroque artist, Caravaggio, painted two versions of this painting. The first in 1594 which is now in the Capitoline Museums in Rome and his second version in 1595, which is in the Louvre Museum, Paris.

Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione” by Raphael

“Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione” by Raphael depicts Raphael’s friend, the diplomat and humanist Baldassare Castiglione, who is considered the example of the High Renaissance gentleman.

Castiglione is seated against an earth-toned background and wears a dark doublet with a trim of squirrel fur and black ribbon. On his head is a turban topped by a beret.

The lightest areas are the subject’s face, his white shirt which is billowed out in the front at his chest, and his folded hands. Castiglione is painted with a humane sensitivity characteristic of Raphael’s later portraits.

The soft contours of his clothing and rounded beard express the subtlety of the subject’s personality.

Charles I at the Hunt” by Anthony van Dyck

“Charles I at the Hunt” by Anthony van Dyck depicts Charles dressed as an aristocratic gentleman, but with regal assurance, standing next to a horse as if resting on a hunt.

Charles stands as if surveying his domain with his head turned to face the viewer with a slight smile. The King was sensitive about his height, and Van Dyck compensates by placing the viewer at a low angle point of view, looking up at the King.

Charles is portraited in a wide-brimmed Cavalier hat, teardrop earring, shimmering silver satin doublet, red breeches, and turned-down leather boots.

He is girt with a sword and has one hand resting on a walking stick, while his other hand rests on his hip, holding his gloves as a sign of his assurance. The horse is bowing its head in submission to the King.

An Old Man and his Grandson” by Domenico Ghirlandaio

“An Old Man and his Grandson” by Domenico Ghirlandaio portrays an older man in a red robe, embracing a young child who is also wearing red.

They sit in a room with a window through which can be seen as a landscape consisting of a sculptured terrain and winding roads typical of many of Ghirlandaio’s background depictions.

Although the man’s fur-lined robe and the boy’s elegant doublet and cap indicate an autocratic or wealthy family, their identities are a mystery. The identity of the sitters is no longer known.

The poignancy of the image is dramatized by the contrast between the man’s weathered and wise face, and the child’s delicate profile. It is one of Ghirlandaio’s best-known works and is considered notable for its emotional poignancy and realism.

Vulcan Presenting Venus with Arms for Aeneas” by François Boucher

“Vulcan Presenting Venus with Arms for Aeneas” by François Boucher depicts the god of the forge from ancient Roman myth, presenting the Roman goddess of love, with a sword for Aeneas, her son.

It depicts a muscular Vulcan with a blacksmith’s hammer and tools, on the ground in the right, offering up to the more celestial Venus the weapons he has forged for her son, the Trojan hero and the ancestor of Romulus and Remus, who founded ancient Rome.

Boucher created this theme as the basis for one of a set of tapestries on “The Loves of the Gods.”

La belle ferronnière” by Leonardo da Vinci

“La belle ferronnière” by Leonardo da Vinci is the portrait of an unknown woman, and her identity is shrouded in mystery.

“La belle ferronnière” was known as “Portrait of an Unknown Woman” as early as the seventeenth century, and it was believed that the sitter was the wife or daughter of an ironmonger or “a ferronnier.”

Thus one possible story to explain the title of the portrait. However, it was also popularly claimed that the title alluded to a reputed mistress of Francis I of France, married to a certain Le Ferron.

The tale is a legend of revenge in which the aggrieved husband intentionally infects himself with syphilis, which he passes to the King by infecting his wife.

Self-Portrait by Élisabeth Sophie Chéron

This Self Portrait portrays Élisabeth Sophie Chéron (1648 – 1711), who was a renaissance woman, acclaimed in her lifetime as a gifted painter, poet, musician, artist, and academic.

At age 22, she was admitted to the Académie as a portrait painter and was the fourth woman painter to enter the academy. She exhibited regularly at the Salon, and at the same time, produced poetry and translations.

She was fluent in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Chéron published her book of Psalm paraphrases in 1694, and her literary talent was recognized in 1699 when she was named a member of the Accademia dei Ricovrati, in Padua. Her Psalms were later set to music.

The Four Seasons by Nicolas Poussin

“Autumn” by Nicolas Poussin is also known as “The Spies with the Grapes of the Promised Land.” The painting depicts a scene in which long shadows are cast by the evening sun, whose fading light catches a town nestling under a mountain.

The central figures of the composition are from the story in the Old Testament, Book of Numbers in which two Israelite spies return to their camp with the Grapes of the Promised Land.

In Poussin’s interpretation, they need a pole to carry the large grapes, whose size is symbolic of the Promised Land. One of the spies also holds a branch of huge oranges.

The Death of Marat” by Gioacchino Giuseppe Serangeli after Jacques-Louis David

“The Death of Marat” by Jacques-Louis David depicts the murdered French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat. David’s painting shows the radical journalist at the moment of his death in his bath.

Marat was one of the leaders of a key political group during the French Revolution, the radical faction which ascendant in French politics during the “Reign of Terror,” which it led.

Marat suffered from a skin condition that caused him to spend much of his time in his bathtub, where he would often complete his work.

Charlotte Corday, who murdered him, was from an opposing political fraction and a political enemy of Marat, who blamed him for the mass killings during the “September Massacre.

Oath of the Horatii” by Jacques-Louis David

“Oath of the Horatii” by Jacques-Louis David depicts a scene from a Roman legend about a seventh-century BC dispute between two warring cities, Rome and Alba Longa.

It is one of the best-known history paintings in the Neoclassical style. Its theme stresses the importance of patriotism and self-sacrifice for one’s country and family.

The painting depicts the Roman Horatius family, from which three brothers had been chosen for a ritual duel. The duel was against three brothers of the Curiatii, a family from Alba Longa, to settle the disputes between the two cities.

The Coronation of Napoleon” by Jacques-Louis David

“The Coronation of Napoleon” by Jacques-Louis David shows all eyes turned towards Napoleon and the crown. He is the central subject of this composition.

Napoleon is standing, dressed in coronation robes similar to those of Roman emperors. The coronation of Napoleon as Emperor that took place on Sunday, December 2, 1804, was a masterful act of propaganda.

This painting, which is a large imposing painting at almost 10 meters (33 ft) wide by 6 meters (20 ft) tall, was part of the propaganda effort.

Portrait of the Elector John Frederic the Magnanimous of Saxony” by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 – 1553) was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving.

He was a court painter to the Electors of Saxony and is famous for his portraits of German princes and those of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, whose cause he embraced.

He was a close friend of Martin Luther, and he is commemorated in the liturgical calendars of the Episcopal and Lutheran churches.

Leonidas at Thermopylae” by Jacques-Louis David

Leonidas at Thermopylae by Jacques-Louis David depicts the Spartan King Leonidas before the final Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE.

The crowded and theatrical scene is set at the mountain pass, where the Battle of Thermopylae was about to be fought.

Thermopylae was chosen as the ideal location for a defensive action due to its narrow passage through the mountainous geography.

Entry of Alexander into Babylon” by Charles Le Brun

“Entry of Alexander into Babylon” by Charles Le Brun depicts Alexander the Great standing in a chariot drawn by two elephants as he makes his triumphant entry into the Persian capital of Babylon.

Alexander had defeated Darius III of Persia at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC. He expected further battles to take Babylon but was surprised to see the city open to give him a hero’s welcome.

“The Raft of the Medusa” by Théodore Géricault

The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault depicts the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of Mauritania in 1816.

About 150 of the crew were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft. All but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue. The survivors had endured starvation and dehydration, and some survived using cannibalism.

The event became an international scandal, and the captain was accused of incompetence.

“Moses saved from the Waters” by Nicolas Poussin

“Moses saved from the Waters” by Nicolas Poussin depicts figures wearing the 17th-century idea of the ancient Egyptian dress, and the background includes pyramids and obelisks, where previously most artists had not attempted to represent a specifically Egyptian setting.

The 17th century saw the height of popularity for this biblical subject, with Poussin painting it at least three times. The three versions by Poussin all include a Roman-style Nilus, the god or personification of the Nile, reclining with a cornucopia.

This version shows the god next to a sphinx in the foreground. The sphinx was a copy of a specific classical statue in the Vatican. The background includes a hippopotamus hunt on the river in the adapted from the Roman Nile mosaic.

“The Battle of Anghiari” by Peter Paul Rubens – Copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s  Lost Painting

“The Battle of Anghiari” by Peter Paul Rubens, is a copy of a lost Leonardo da Vinci fresco, it depicts four Knights engaged in a battle for possession of a standard, at the Battle of Anghiari in 1440.

Rubens successfully portrayed the fury, the intense emotions, and the sense of power that were present in Da Vinci’s original painting. Leonardo da Vinci made many preparatory studies that still exist.

Da Vinci’s composition of the central section is known through this drawing copy by Peter Paul Rubens. Rubens’s copy, dating from 1603, was based on an engraving of 1553 by Lorenzo Zacchia, which was taken from the painting itself.

“Oedipus and the Sphinx” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

“Oedipus and the Sphinx” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres depicts Oedipus explaining the riddle of the Sphinx. Oedipus was a tragic hero in Greek mythology.

Oedipus accidentally fulfilled a prophecy in which he kills his father and unknowingly marries his mother. As part of his journey, which brings disaster to his city and family, Oedipus encountered a Sphinx. 

The Sphinx would stop all travelers and ask them a riddle. If the travelers did not answer the riddle correctly, they would be killed and eaten. If the answers were correct, they would be free to continue on their journey.

“Diana Discovering the Pregnancy of Callisto” Attributed to Paul Brill

“Diana Discovering the Pregnancy of Callisto” attributed to Paul Brill, depicts Diana, identified by the crescent moon, and her companions who have put down their bows and quivers to rest and bathe in the cool shade.

As the nymphs prepare to bathe, one of them, Callisto, refuses to take off her robe. The goddess of the hunt soon discovers Callisto’s pregnancy when the other nymphs were angrily pulling her clothes off her.

With an accusatory gesture, Diana banishes the nymph as the other nymphs’ gestures explain the drama being played out.

“Philosopher in Meditation” by Rembrandt

“Philosopher in Meditation” by Rembrandt depicts two figures in a partially vaulted interior that is dominated by the central wooden spiral staircase.

The architecture of the room includes stone, brick, and wood, with an arched window and arched doors. This painting is one of the most geometrically complex works painted by Rembrandt.

The composition comprises of many straight, curved, circular, and radiating lines. The staircase is at the center of the composition, with the curved edges of the stair spiral orchestrating the consecutive straight lines. 

The figure on the left is that of an older man seated at a table in front of a window. The man’s head is bowed and his hands folded in his lap. The figure on the right is that of an older woman tending a fire in an open hearth.

There is also a third figure of a woman standing in the stairs facing the viewer, but she is virtually invisible in the painting’s dark hue created by the aging of the varnish. The middle figure is visible in the 18th and 19th century engraved reproductions of this painting.

“St John the Baptist” by Leonardo da Vinci

“St John the Baptist” by Leonardo da Vinci is a High Renaissance oil painting on walnut wood completed from 1513 to 1516. Before this work, Saint John was traditionally portrayed as a gaunt ascetic.

Leonardo’s innovative depiction proved influential upon later artists who show a similarly youthful saint in isolation, with a strong contrast between the dark background and the illumination of the figure. 

Through the use of chiaroscuro, the figure appears to emerge from the shadowy background. The Saint is dressed in pelts, has long curly hair, and is smiling in an enigmatic manner reminiscent of Leonardo’s famous Mona Lisa.

He holds a reed cross and points up toward heaven.

“Cupid and Psyche” by François Gérard

“Cupid and Psyche” by François Gérard depicts a young princess, Psyche, who is surprised and aroused by the first kiss of Cupid, who is effectively invisible to her.

A symbolic butterfly hovers over Psyche’s head in a moment of innocence poised before sexual awakening. She has awakened from her sleep through a Love, which she does not see but feels. The purity of feeling is captured by the modesty of gestures.

The myth depicted is a love story and an allegory of Psyche as a personification of the human soul. Cupid and Psyche is a story originally from Metamorphoses written in the 2nd century AD.

The story is about overcoming the obstacles to the love between Psyche “Soul” and Cupid “Desire” and their ultimate marriage. The story has been retold in poetry, drama, and opera, and depicted widely in painting, and sculpture.

“The Fall of Icarus” by Merry-Joseph Blondel

“The Fall of Icarus” by Merry-Joseph Blondel is an oil painting on the ceiling of the Rotunda of Apollo, in the Louvre museum, in Paris. Blondel depicts Icarus falling after his wings melted when he flew too close to the Sun god Helios. 

Helios in ancient Greek myth was the god and personification of the Sun, depicted with a radiant crown and driving a horse-drawn chariot through the sky.

Icarus’s father is shown in distress as he hopeless watches his son fall to his death after he ignored his father’s advice not to fly too close to Helios.

“Diana Huntress” by School of Fontainebleau

“Diana Huntress” by the School of Fontainebleau is a mythical representation of Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of King Henry II, in the guise of the goddess Diana.

The figure carries a bow and a quiver of arrows and is accompanied by a dog. In her hair is an ornament in the shape of a crescent moon, an attribute of the goddess. 

This painting is one of many works by artists of the School of Fontainebleau depicting Diane de Poitiers, who was often personified as Diana.

The School of Fontainbleau (c.1530 – c.1610) refers to two periods of artistic production in France during the late Renaissance centered on the Royal Palace of Fontainebleau.

“Diana Huntress” by Bartolomeo Passerotti

“Diana Huntress” by Bartolomeo Passerotti depicts the goddess of the hunt, with all her traditional symbols for easy identification. In her hair, she wears an ornament in the shape of a crescent moon.

She holds a bow as she leads her hunting dogs in the hunt. Diana has killed a big black boar and is shown at the moment when she is about to withdraw her arrow from the creature.

Another symbol used to identify Diana is a deer with has been added on the bottom right of the painting.

“Jewish Wedding in Morocco” by Eugène Delacroix

“Jewish Wedding in Morocco” by Eugène Delacroix depicts a scene the artist had experienced as part of a diplomatic mission to Morocco in the 1830s.

This composition was based on his memories, details that were written down in his books on Morocco. This painting depicts the celebration after the formal wedding ceremony.

Dancing is a significant feature of Jewish weddings as it is customary for the guests to dance and entertain the couple. The musicians are at the center of the composition.

Women are generally on one side of the room and the men in the main on the other side of the room. The women are starting the dance.

“Young Painter in his Studio” by Barent Fabritius

“Young Painter in his Studio” by Barent Fabritius depicts the artist’s brother Johannes Fabritius (1636 – 1707), the youngest of three Fabritius’s brothers. It is a pictorial and free evocation of a painter at work.

His style was influenced by his eldest brother Carel Fabritius (1622 – 1654), who was a pupil of Rembrandt and worked in his studio in Amsterdam. 

Barent or Bernard Pietersz Fabritius (1624 –  1673), was a Dutch painter. He studied with his brothers Johannes and Carel Fabritius, and probably with Rembrandt as well.

“Painter in his Studio” by François Boucher

“Painter in his Studio” by François Boucher is a self-portrait of the young artist. Born in Paris, Boucher was the son of a lesser-known painter, who gave him his first artistic training. 

At the age of seventeen, Boucher won the elite Grand Prix de Rome for painting but did not take up the opportunity to study in Italy until five years later, due to financial problems at the Académie. 

On his return from studying in Italy, he was admitted to the refounded Académie in 1731.

“Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome” by Giovanni Paolo Panini

“Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome” by Giovanni Paolo Panini is the name given to each of three almost identical paintings by the celebrated Italian artists in the 1750s.

The picture gallery consists of a large number of paintings of buildings, monuments, and sculptures in Rome during the time that Panini painted this painting.

It is not a depiction of an actual gallery but rather an extravagant souvenir commissioned by the French ambassador to the Vatican to commemorate his stay in Rome.

The original painting shows the arrangement commissioned by the Count of Stainville. He was the ambassador to Rome from between 1753 and 1757.

“Imaginary Gallery of Ancient Roman Art” by Giovanni Paolo Panini

“Imaginary Gallery of Ancient Roman Art” is the title given to each of three almost identical paintings by Giovanni Paolo Panini. The paintings were produced as pendant paintings to “Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome.”

This imaginary picture gallery consists of a large number of paintings of buildings, monuments, and sculptures from Ancient Rome, which was viewable during the time that Panini painted this painting.

It is not a depiction of an actual gallery but rather an extravagant souvenir commissioned by the French ambassador to the Vatican to commemorate his stay in Rome. The Count of Stainvill

“Bonaparte Visiting the Plague Victims of Jaffa” by Antoine-Jean Gros

“Bonaparte Visiting the Plague Victims of Jaffa” by Antoine-Jean Gros was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to portray a historical event during his Egyptian Campaign.

The scene shows Napoleon in Jaffa on 11 March 1799, visiting his sick soldiers at the Armenian Saint Nicholas Monastery.

The commission of this painting was a propaganda attempt to embroider Bonaparte’s mythology and quell reports that Napoleon had ordered fifty plague victims in Jaffa to be given fatal doses of opium during his retreat from his Syrian expedition.

The scene is set in the Armenian Saint Nicholas Monastery, whose courtyard can be seen in the background. Further into the background are the walls of Jaffa, with a breached tower above which flies an oversized French flag. The smoke from the fire dominates the town.

A Tour of the Egyptian Antiquities

Hunters Palette

Akhenaton and Nefertiti

Seated Scribe

A Tour of the Near Eastern Antiquities

Law Code of Hammurabi

Gudea, Prince of Lagash

Victory Stele of Naram-Sin

Statue of Ebih-Il

Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Collections

The Winged Victory of Samothrace

Venus de Milo

“Venus Callipyge” by François Barois

Sculpture

Tomb of Philippe Pot

Rebellious Slave” by Michelangelo

“Bust of Cardinal Richelieu” by Bernini

Highlights of The Louvre

Louvre Museum Collections

The Musée du Louvre contains about 460,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art. The departments of the Louvre Museum include:

  • Paintings
  • Egyptian Antiquities
  • Near Eastern Antiquities
  • Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Collections
  • Islamic Art
  • Sculpture
  • Decorative Arts
  • Prints and drawings

Louvre Map

Louvre Museum

  • Museum:         Louvre
  • French:            Musée du Louvre
  • City:                  Paris
  • Established:     1793
  • Location:         Musée du Louvre, 75001 Paris, France
  • Visitors:           Over  9 million per year
  • Public Transit Access:
    • Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre Paris Métro Line 1
    • Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre  Paris Métro Line 7
    • Louvre-Rivoli Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 1

The History of The Louvre

The Louvre Museum started on the current site as a medieval fortress. In 1190, King Philip II (the first person to be officially known as the King of France), began construction of an arsenal near what was then the western border of Paris, along with the banks of the River Seine.

It was initially designed as a fortress to protect the French from Viking raiders, who could navigate up the River Seine.

The fortifications were designed to prevent invasions and included bastions at each corner, a surrounding moat, and a massive tall fortified tower at its center.

Two centuries later, Paris had spread beyond this location, and a new series of defensive structures were constructed at the further outskirts of Paris.

The fortress ceased to be used for defensive purposes, and the remains of part of the medieval masonry are on display and can be visited.

Salle saint louis louvre medieval

In the 14th century, King Charles V modified the original design, but the war delayed more extensive plans, and the Louvre fell into disuse until 1527.

Then, King Francis, I ordered the demolishment of the original structure in favor of a lavish new Renaissance building.

The projects Francis commissioned started a century of expansions, including new wings and buildings designed by the leading architects of the day.

Each successive monarch made their contributions to the building by adding and extending to the Louvre’s grounds and grandeur. All these construction projects eventually connected by a series of galleries and pavilions give the Louvre its unifying facade.

After 1682, when the Sun King, Louis XIV, moved the royal court from Paris to the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre was left with unfinished building works and was abandoned to disrepair.

The buildings that remained open eventually hosted by painters, sculptors, and writers as residents. It became a home for artists.

Some of the Bourbon kings sponsored with funds the development of site plus artistic endeavors until 1789 and the start of the French Revolution.

Hubert Robert - Design for the Grande Galerie in the Louvre

With the fall of the monarchy, the royal family was imprisoned in the neighboring Tuileries Palace and then executed by guillotine.

The newly created National Assembly decreed the Louvre as a national museum open to the public.

The Louvre Museum, opened in 1793, with an exhibit of more than 500 paintings and decorative arts, many of which were confiscated from the French nobility.

Napoleon and the French army seized significant pieces of art and archaeological items from nations conquered in the Napoleonic wars.

Most of this plundered European art was returned after Napoleon’s defeat in 1815. However, the Egyptian antiquities collections remained, and other departments owe much to Napoleon’s conquests.

New wings were added in the 19th century, and the multi-building Louvre complex was completed in 1857.

In 1911 with the theft of the Mona Lisa, the museum received significant publicity as did the Mona Lisa.

This incident and many others in the 20th century helped raise the profile of the Louvre Museum into a museum of global significance, not just a French institution.

With the coming of World War II, Louvre conservators quickly evacuated thousands of pieces of art. Trucks headed into the French countryside, hiding priceless works across a series of private chateaus.

After the German occupation of Paris, Nazi officials ordered the Louvre to reopen.

With limited artworks to display, the Nazis decided to use part of the Louvre as a clearinghouse to catalog and ship art and personal items confiscated from wealthy French (primarily Jewish) families back to Germany.

Thanks to a brave curator who served as a double agent during this period, many of the pieces that passed through the Louvre were eventually recovered.

Many art pieces that passed through the Louvre at this period are still controversially missing.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Louvre underwent major remodeling to modernize the museum. Significant visitor amenities were added, and thousands of square meters of new exhibition space was made available.

The Chinese American architect I.M. Pei designed the steel-and-glass pyramid in the center of the Louvre courtyard.

Paris July 2011-27a

The glass pyramid entrance was highly controversial at the time. However, today, it is synonymous with the Louvre. In 1993, the French ministry of finance, the final government department vacated the Louvre, and new capacity was made available for the museum.

This was the first time that the entire Louvre was dedicated as a Museum.

Louvre-CourMarly

Map for the Louvre

The Louvre: 800 years of history

How To Visit the Louvre Quickly and Efficiently

Top 10 Things to See at the Louvre with Map Itinerary

~~~

“Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.”
– Marcel Proust

~~~


Photo Credit: By Didier Devèze (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  1) By Pierre-Emmanuel Malissin et Frédéric Valdes (galerie.roi-president.com) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By Pierre-Emmanuel Malissin et Frédéric Valdes (galerie.roi-president.com) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons 3) By Alvesgaspar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 4) By Jean-Christophe BENOIST (Own work) [GFDL (gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 5)Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-L15196 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en) or CC BY-SA 3.0 de (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

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