Louvre Museum - History and Facts

Beside Eiffel tower and Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre is one of the landmarks of Paris. It is placed on the right bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement. Collection of The Louvre counts closely to 380000 objects, it one of the largest museums in the world and it is the most popular museum in the world with more than 9 million visitors per year.

Louvre Museum at Day

The Louvre is located in the Louvre Palace which was built as a fortress on the order of Philip II in 12th century. When in 1682, Louis XIV chose to move into the Palace of Versailles he left The Louvre as a place where royal collection will be displayed. The same year Académie occupied The Louvre and stayed there for 100 years. When the French Revolution started, National Assembly decided that The Louvre should be a museum. The museum was opened on 10 August 1793 and an exhibition had 537 paintings, mostly confiscated royal and church property. Some structural problems with construction of The Louvre caused the museum to be closed from 1796 until 1801. When Napoleon came to power museum changes the name into Musée Napoléon and collection started to grow because of his conquering. When he lost at the Waterloo many of the objects were returned to the countries of origin. Collection grew by 20000 pieces during the Second French Empire and it continues to grow until this day.

Museum has curatorial departments and these are some of them:

Egyptian antiquities have some 50000 items from 4000 BC to 400 AD. Department was created after the translation of the Rosetta Stone by Jean-François Champollion. Collection occupies some 20 rooms and in them are among other The Seated Scribe, Large Sphinx and Gebel el-Arak Knife.

Near Eastern antiquities dates from 1881 and represents an overview of Near Eastern civilizations before the arrival of Islam. It holds such artifacts as monument Stele of the Vultures, 2.25-metre Code of Hammurabi and Archers of Darius I.

Louvre Museum Interior

Greek, Etruscan, and Roman department features items from Mediterranean Basin that date from Neolith to the 6th century. Some of the artifacts in this department are Venus de Milo, Borghese Vase and Lady of Auxerre.

Islamic art is the newest department and it has more than 5,000 works: items made of ceramic, wood, glass and ivory. Some of them are: Pyxide d'al-Mughira, Baptistery of Saint-Louis and Shroud of Saint-Josse.

Sculpture department’s collection consists of sculptures that are older than 1850 but are not Greek, Etruscan nor Roman. This department has two exhibition spaces: collection of works made by French authors is in the Richelieu wing while works of foreign authors are placed in the Denon wing.

Painting department has collection of 7500 paintings that date from 13th century to 1848. Some of the paintings originate from the royal collection, some are from the Napoleon’s time and some are bought. There are among others Raphael’s and Michelangelo’s paintings as well as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and many more of his work.