Located along the Seine River in Paris, France, is a colossal structure, which is home to some of the worlds most cherished and appreciated artifacts and pieces of art. This structure was once a massive fortress, which was then converted into a palace for the King of France, Philip II. Indeed, so colossal were the halls of this palace, that Philip II and his son used to ride from one hall to another. Many years later, this building is still one of Paris most cherished possessions. Welcome to the Louvre.
It was King Philippe Auguste who started building the Louvre as a fort against the Anglo-Normans. However, the Louvre saw a lot of demolition and additions being done to it. The French were so in love wit the Louvre that, for many centuries, this fort then came to be used as a palace for many French Monarchs. It was in 1672 that Louis XIV shifted home to the palace of Versailles. This building was now meant to be a place to contain the royal collection of art. Located right in the center of Paris, the Louvre opened up to the public as a museum in 1793, but was soon shut down because of structural problems of the Louvre as a museum. It was reopened by Napoleon and renamed Musée Napoléon. The latest addition to the architecture of the Museum was the glass pyramid, which was built in 1989. this structure facilitated the passage of sunlight right onto the underground floor.
The Louvre today houses around 35,000 pieces of art and as such, you dont need to be an art lover to fall in love with the Louvre. That work is done by the museum itself in such a way that youll fall in love with the Louvre. All the pieces are kept within three sections of the former Louvre Palace. Among the many thousands of pieces seen here, a large number of paintings and sculptures contain European style and design.
The collections in the Louvre include Egyptian antiquities, Near Eastern Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Islamic art, sculpture, Decorative Art and Paintings. There are also a lot many exhibits that have characteristics of Art from the Far East. One of the sections called the “objets dArt” contains many objects like furniture from different ages, clocks of different types and China and tapestries.
The most famous ancient works in the Louvre are a statuette of the Sumerian ruler Gudea, a stele with Hammurabis code, an Egyptian painted stone statue of a scribe sitting cross-legged, the Venus de Milo, and the Victory of Samothrace. The large collection of relatively modern art is breath-taking too. The most famous pieces include two marble Slaves, creations of Michelangelo, the treasure of the abbey of St. Denis, and the French crown diamonds. Important paintings include the Pietà of Avignon, Leonardo da Vincis Mona Lisa, Veroneses immense Wedding at Cana , and Watteaus Embarkation for Cythera.
The Louvre is for good reason the most visited museum in the world, averaging about eight and a half million visitors every year. With the historical back ground that the palace it self provides, and the many thousands of things to see, it would many days for one to cover the entire place. Quiet an interesting challenge, and its totally worth it!