Louvre Part 1

LINKS to other pages in the 'Christmas in Paris' site and to the Travelling Days series:

1 : Welcome to Paris
2 : Les Halles
3 : St Eustache Church
4 : Louvre
5 : River Journey
6 : Notre Dame
7 : Paris Market
8 : Paris by Night


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The Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre) is the most visited (8.3 million visitors in 2006) and one of the oldest, largest, and most famous art galleries and museums in the world. The building was previously a royal palace and holds some of the world's most famous works of art, such as Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa', 'The Virgin and Child with St. Anne', 'Madonna of the Rocks', Jacques Louis David's 'Oath of the Horatii', Delacroix's 'Liberty Leading the People' and Alexandros of Antioch's 'Venus de Milo'. The following information has been obtained from 'Wikipaedia', the official Louvre website and various other sources,

The first royal "Castle of the Louvre" was founded in what was then the western edge of Paris by Philip Augustus in 1190, as a fortified royal palace to defend Paris on its west against Viking attacks. The first building in the existing Louvre was begun in 1535, after demolition of the old Castle. The architect Pierre Lescot introduced to Paris the 'new design vocabulary' of the Renaissance which had been developed in the châteaux of the Loire.

During his reign (1589–1610), King Henry IV added the Grande Galerie. Henry IV, a promoter of the arts, invited hundreds of artists and craftsmen to live and work on the building's lower floors. This huge addition was built along the bank of the River Seine and at the time was the longest edifice of its kind in the world.

Louis XIII (1610–1643) completed the Denon Wing, which had been started by Catherine Medici in 1560. Today it has been renovated as a part of the Grand Louvre Renovation Programme.

The Richelieu Wing was also built by Louis XIII. It was part of the Ministry of Economy of France, which took up most of the north wing of the palace. The Ministry was moved and the wing was renovated and turned into magnificent galleries which were inaugurated in 1993 which saw the 200th anniversary of sections of the building being opened for the first time to the public as a museum on November 8, 1793. The Louvre was still being added to in the time of Napoleon III. The new wing of 1852–1857, by architects Visconti and Hector Lefuel, represents the Second Empire's version of Neo-baroque, full of detail and laden with sculpture. Work on the wing continued until 1876.

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Entrance hall and staircases (left and below)

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New Year's Eve crowds in the Louvre (above)

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Decorated ceiling in the Galerie d'Apollon (right)

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"Show us your muscles" (left)......

     "I said something to her and she went right off her head" (below)

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Alexandros of Antioch's 'Venus de Milo' (left and below)

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A less familiar view of 'Venus de Milo' (left).......

           ......'Winged Victory of Samothrace' (below)

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To continue our visit to the Louvre please click the 'Next' button below right

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