The treasury of the most esteemed valuables from the old historical times, the Louvre Museum, or simply the Louvre is the prestige of Paris. Built in the 12th century, the Louvre is actually a palace which now exhibits the royalties and prehistoric art works. Housing over 380,000 museum objects and more than 35,000 works of art in eight different curatorial departments according to their origin, the museum is one of the largest and most visited museums of the world. The Louvre flaunts its grandeur at the entrance itself, by welcoming its visitors with a magnificent glass pyramid built over the entrance lobby. Apart from this, the museum has three other entrances which a very few are aware of. With the entrance free on some specific days and charged on the rest, the museum is mostly crowded all year round with foreigners pouring in from all over the world to bask in the greatness of this place. Once you get inside, the museum is divided into three wings, namely Sully, Richelieu and Denon.
The Sully wing is the oldest and shelters the ancient artistry of the Egyptians. The lower ground floor of the building holds the remains of the then palace and is worth a visit for people interested in old architecture. The ground floor has the most famous sculpture of the Aphrodite or commonly known as the Venus de Milo. Found in 1820, this elegant marble statue is assumed to be from 100 BC. The story behind the hand gestures being a mystery, this sculpture is a tribute given to the Goddess of Love (Aphrodite). With thirty rooms full of the mesmerizing sculptures and paintings from the Egyptian culture, it also has the famous sculpture of the Seated Scribe. Dating back to 2500 BCE, the statue of the scribe (a person who writes books and documents for the kings) has gained phenomenal attention due to the sculpted details of his features in contrast with the less attended body. The second floor displays the French collection of paintings, prints and drawings which is a delight to see.
The Richelieu is a home to the arts from the Middle Age to the 19th century by famous painters from throughout Europe. All the paintings are placed on the second floor in the building. The ground floor consists of the sculptures of horses and other things created in the 18th century. The first floor has the lavishly decorated rooms from during the times of Napoleon III, called as the Napoleon apartment these are purposely preserved to portray the rich life in the palace during his time. Completely over the top, these opulent rooms were built for entertainment and parties. Long hallways, ornate tables, spell binding chandeliers, rich upholstery and the painted ceiling comprises of a perfect setting of amusing the then guests. The wing also has of the artistic collection of furniture, clocks, chinaware, tapestries and other decorative articles.
The third and the most important sections of the museum is the Denon wing. Always the center of attraction and loaded with visitors all year round, this place is the sanctum of the museum. It houses the world famous painting of Mona Lisa, a woman, painted by the great painter Leonardo da Vinci. Painted in 1503, the painting has various unsolved mysteries like the smile of Lisa Gherardini (Mona Lisa), why the painter kept the painting to himself and also as to how and why this painting came in Francois I’s collection. The ground floor houses the huge collection of the Roman and the Etruscan antiques. It also exhibits the artifacts from the Renaissance period to 19th century. Apart from these, the famous sculptures of Psyche revived by the Cupid’s kiss and Michelangelo’s Dying Slave are displayed here. This wing also has the Asian, African Oceania and Americas.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is displayed in an atrium which connects the Sully wing and the Denon wing. Estimated to be created during 200 BCE, the marble sculpture is of the Greek Goddess of Nike (Victory). It portrays the sense of action and triumph at the same time, draped in graceful clothing. It was not only a tribute to the Goddess but also to provide honor to a sea battle. The entire museum is connected through such atriums linking all three wings. Besides its humungous collection of the prehistoric artifacts, the museum is also reputed for its architecture. Built in the 12th century and expanded in the succeeding centuries, this fortress was constructed for the protection of the then capital. Due to the growth in the city, the structure was damaged and required rebuilding. Thus, the original fortress kept on getting transformed till date and now stands as a paradise for the art lovers.
Considered as the ultimate shrine of the artworks of renowned painters, sculptors etc. the Louvre is truly an unparalleled place in the list of places one must definitely visit. Unraveling the history, the art and the lives that the people before us lived would have never been so enthralling if it was not for the Louvre. Apart from the mind boggling gigantism of the museum, the delicate arts, the serene sculptures and the exuberant atmosphere that prevails inside it, takes you to a world which is far behind from the present.