Louvre
Overview
 
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank
Rive Droite
La Rive Droite is most associated with the river Seine in central Paris. Here the river flows roughly westwards, cutting the city into two: looking downstream, the northern bank is to the right, and the southern bank is to the left....

 of the Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

 in the 1st arrondissement (district).
Encyclopedia
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank
Rive Droite
La Rive Droite is most associated with the river Seine in central Paris. Here the river flows roughly westwards, cutting the city into two: looking downstream, the northern bank is to the right, and the southern bank is to the left....

 of the Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

 in the 1st arrondissement (district). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet).

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace
Palais du Louvre
The Louvre Palace , on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris, is a former royal palace situated between the Tuileries Gardens and the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois...

 (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II
Philip II of France
Philip II Augustus was the King of France from 1180 until his death. A member of the House of Capet, Philip Augustus was born at Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, the son of Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne...

. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

 for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of antique sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, the National Assembly
National Constituent Assembly
The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789, during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.-Background:...

 decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation's masterpieces.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 and the museum was renamed the Musée Napoléon. After the defeat of Napoléon at Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII
Louis XVIII of France
Louis XVIII , known as "the Unavoidable", was King of France and of Navarre from 1814 to 1824, omitting the Hundred Days in 1815...

 and Charles X
Charles X of France
Charles X was known for most of his life as the Comte d'Artois before he reigned as King of France and of Navarre from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. A younger brother to Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him...

, and during the Second French Empire
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

 the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

Medieval, Renaissance, and Bourbon palace


The Louvre Palace
Palais du Louvre
The Louvre Palace , on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris, is a former royal palace situated between the Tuileries Gardens and the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois...

(Palais du Louvre) which houses the museum was begun as a fortress by Philip II in the 12th century, with remnants of this building still visible in the crypt. Whether this was the first building on that spot is not known, but it is possible that Philip modified an existing tower. Although some believe that the word 'louvre' may refer to the structure's status as the largest in late 12th century Paris (from the French L'Œuvre, masterpiece) – or to its location in a forest (from the French rouvre, oak) – one finds in the authoritative Larousse
Grand Larousse encyclopédique
The Grand Larousse encyclopédique en dix volumes is a French encyclopedic dictionary published by Larousse, published in volumes between February 1960 and August 1964, with two later supplements....

 that it derives from an association with wolf hunting
Wolf hunting
Wolf hunting is the practice of hunting grey wolves or other lupine animals. Wolves are mainly hunted for sport, for their skins, to protect livestock, and, in some rare cases, to protect humans. Wolves have been actively hunted since 12,000 to 13,000 years ago, when they first began to pose...

 den (via Latin: lupus, lower Empire: lupara).

The Louvre Palace was altered frequently throughout the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. In the 14th century, Charles V
Charles V of France
Charles V , called the Wise, was King of France from 1364 to his death in 1380 and a member of the House of Valois...

 converted the building into a residence and in 1546, Francis I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 (François 1er ) renovated the site in French Renaissance
French Renaissance
French Renaissance is a recent term used to describe a cultural and artistic movement in France from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that many cultural historians believe originated in northern Italy in the fourteenth century...

 style. Francis acquired what would become the nucleus of the Louvre's holdings, his acquisitions including Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

's Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa is a portrait by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is a painting in oil on a poplar panel, completed circa 1503–1519...

. After Louis XIV chose Versailles as his residence in 1682, constructions slowed; however, the move permitted the Louvre to be used as a residence for artists.

By the mid-18th century there was an increasing number of proposals to create a public gallery, with Lafont Saint-Yenne publishing, in 1747, a call for a display of the royal collection'. On 14 October 1750, Louis XV
Louis XV of France
Louis XV was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death. He succeeded his great-grandfather at the age of five, his first cousin Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, served as Regent of the kingdom until Louis's majority in 1723...

 agreed and sanctioned a display of 96 pieces from the royal collection, mounted in the Galerie royale de peinture of the Luxembourg Palace
Luxembourg Palace
The Luxembourg Palace in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, north of the Luxembourg Garden , is the seat of the French Senate.The formal Luxembourg Garden presents a 25-hectare green parterre of gravel and lawn populated with statues and provided with large basins of water where children sail model...

. A hall was opened by Le Normant de Tournehem
Charles François Paul Le Normant de Tournehem
Charles François Paul Le Normant de Tournehem was a French financier, a fermier-général, or tax-farmer.He is best known for his connection with Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson , future marquise de Pompadour. Her legal guardian from 1725, after her official father was forced to leave the country, he may...

 and the Marquis de Marigny for public viewing of the Tableaux du Roy on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and contained Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori , his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci,...

's Charity and works by Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

; Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

; Veronese
Paolo Veronese
Paolo Veronese was an Italian painter of the Renaissance in Venice, famous for paintings such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi...

; Rembrandt; Poussin
Nicolas Poussin
Nicolas Poussin was a French painter in the classical style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque style of the 17th century...

 or Van Dyck
Anthony van Dyck
Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next...

, until its closing in 1780 as a result of the gift of the palace to the comte de Provence
Louis XVIII of France
Louis XVIII , known as "the Unavoidable", was King of France and of Navarre from 1814 to 1824, omitting the Hundred Days in 1815...

 by the king in 1778. Under Louis XVI
Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793....

, the royal museum idea became policy. The comte d'Angiviller
Charles-Claude Flahaut de la Billaderie, comte d'Angiviller
Charles-Claude Flahaut de la Billaderie, comte d'Angiviller was the director of the Bâtiments du Roi, a forerunner of a minister of fine arts in charge of the royal building works, under Louis XVI of France, from 1775...

 broadened the collection and in 1776 proposed conversion of the Grande Galerie of the Louvre – which contained maps – into the "French Museum". Many proposals were offered for the Louvre's renovation into a museum, however none was agreed on. Hence the museum remained incomplete until the French Revolution.

French Revolution

During the French Revolution the Louvre was transformed into a public museum. In May 1791, the Assembly
National Constituent Assembly
The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789, during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.-Background:...

 declared that the Louvre would be "a place for bringing together monuments of all the sciences and arts". On 10 August 1792, Louis XVI
Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793....

 was imprisoned and the royal collection in the Louvre became national property. Because of fear of vandalism or theft, on 19 August, the National Assembly pronounced the museum's preparation as urgent. In October, a committee to "preserve the national memory" began assembling the collection for display.

Opening

The museum opened on 10 August 1793, the first anniversary of the monarchy's demise. The public was given free access on three days per week, which was "perceived as a major accomplishment and was generally appreciated". The collection showcased 537 paintings and 184 objects of art. Three quarters were derived from the royal collections, the remainder from confiscated émigrés and Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 property (biens nationaux
Biens nationaux
Biens nationaux, or "national property", was a concept in French history. During the French Revolution, the possessions of the Roman Catholic Church were declared national property by the decree of November 2, 1789. These were sold to resolve the financial crisis that caused the Revolution...

). To expand and organize the collection, the Republic dedicated 100,000 livres per year. In 1794, France's revolutionary armies began bringing pieces from across Europe, such as Laocoön and His Sons
Laocoön and his Sons
The statue of Laocoön and His Sons , also called the Laocoön Group, is a monumental sculpture in marble now in the Vatican Museums, Rome. The statue is attributed by the Roman author Pliny the Elder to three sculptors from the island of Rhodes: Agesander, Athenodoros and Polydorus...

and the Apollo Belvedere
Apollo Belvedere
The Apollo Belvedere or Apollo of the Belvedere—also called the Pythian Apollo— is a celebrated marble sculpture from Classical Antiquity. It was rediscovered in central Italy in the late 15th century, during the Renaissance...

, to establish the Louvre as a museum and as a "sign of popular sovereignty".

The early days were hectic; artists lived in residence, and the unlabelled paintings hung "frame to frame from floor to ceiling". The building itself closed in May 1796 because of structural deficiencies. It reopened on 14 July 1801, arranged chronologically and with new lighting and columns.

Napoleon I

Under Napoleon I
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, a northern wing paralleling the Grande Galérie was begun, and the collection grew through successful military campaigns. Following the Egyptian campaign of 1798–1801, Napoléon appointed the museum's first director, Dominique Vivant Denon. In tribute, the museum was renamed the "Musée Napoléon" in 1803, and acquisitions were made of Spanish, Austrian, Dutch, and Italian works, either as spoils or through treaties such as the Treaty of Tolentino
Treaty of Tolentino
The Treaty of Tolentino was signed after nine months of negotiations between France and the Papal States on February 19, 1797. It was part of the events following the invasion of Italy in the early stages of the French Revolutionary Wars...

. After the French defeat at Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, the works' former owners sought their return. The Louvre's administrators were loath to comply and hid many works in their private collections. In response, foreign states sent emissaries to London to seek help, and many pieces were returned, even some that had been restored by the Louvre. In 1815 Louis XVIII finally concluded agreements with Italy for the keeping of pieces like Veronese's Marriage of Cana which was exchanged for a large Le Brun or the repurchase of the Albani collection.

Restoration and Second Empire

During the Restoration (1814–30), Louis XVIII
Louis XVIII of France
Louis XVIII , known as "the Unavoidable", was King of France and of Navarre from 1814 to 1824, omitting the Hundred Days in 1815...

 and Charles X
Charles X of France
Charles X was known for most of his life as the Comte d'Artois before he reigned as King of France and of Navarre from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. A younger brother to Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him...

 between them added 135 pieces at a cost of 720,000 francs and created the department of Egyptian antiquities curated by Champollion
Jean-François Champollion
Jean-François Champollion was a French classical scholar, philologist and orientalist, decipherer of the Egyptian hieroglyphs....

, increased by more than 7,000 works with the acquisition of the Durand, Salt or second Drovetti collections. This was less than the amount given for rehabilitation of Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

, and the Louvre suffered relative to the rest of Paris. After the creation of the French Second Republic
French Second Republic
The French Second Republic was the republican government of France between the 1848 Revolution and the coup by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte which initiated the Second Empire. It officially adopted the motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité...

 in 1848, the new government allocated two million francs for repair work and ordered the completion of the Galerie d'Apollon, the Salon Carré, and the Grande Galérie. In 1861, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte
Napoleon III of France
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

 bought 11,835 artworks including 641 paintings of the Campana collection. During the Second French Empire
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

, between 1852 and 1870, the French economy grew; by 1870 the museum had added 20,000 new pieces to its collections, and the Pavillon de Flore
Pavillon de Flore
The Pavillon de Flore is a section of the Palais du Louvre in Paris, France. Its construction began in 1595, during the reign of Henry IV, and has had numerous renovations since. The structure stands along the south face of the Louvre Museum, near the Pont Royal...

 and the Grande Galérie were remodelled under architects Louis Visconti and Hector Lefuel
Hector Lefuel
Hector-Martin Lefuel was a French historicist architect, whose most familiar work was the completion of the Palais du Louvre, including the reconstruction of the Pavillon de Flore after a disastrous fire.He was the son of Alexandre Henry Lefuel , an entrepreneurial speculative builder established...

.

Third Republic and World Wars

During the French Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

 the Louvre acquired new pieces mainly via donations and gifts. The Société des Amis du Louvre donated the Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
Pieta of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon is a 15th century oil painting considered one of the outstanding works of art of the late Middle Ages. Following its appearance at an exhibition in 1904 its authorship was disputed, though it has since been accepted as the work of Enguerrand Quarton.The Pietà, where...

, and in 1863 an expedition uncovered the sculpture Winged Victory of Samothrace
Winged Victory of Samothrace
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace, is a 2nd century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike . Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the Louvre and is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world.-Description:The Nike of Samothrace,...

in the Aegean Sea. This piece, though heavily damaged, has been prominently displayed since 1884. The 583-item Collection La Caze donated in 1869, included works by Chardin
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was an 18th-century French painter. He is considered a master of still life, and is also noted for his genre paintings which depict kitchen maids, children, and domestic activities...

; Fragonard; Rembrandt – such as Bathsheba at Her Bath
Bathsheba at Her Bath
Bathsheba at Her Bath is an oil painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt finished in 1654. A depiction that is both sensual and empathetic, it shows a moment from the Old Testament story in which King David sees Bathsheba bathing and, entranced, seduces and impregnates her...

– and Gilles by Watteau.

Museum expansion slowed after World War I, and the collection did not acquire many significant new works; exceptions were Georges de La Tour
Georges de La Tour
Georges de La Tour was a French Baroque painter, who spent most of his working life in the Duchy of Lorraine, which was temporarily absorbed into France between 1641 and 1648...

's Saint Thomas and Baron Edmond de Rothschild's
Edmond James de Rothschild
Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild was a French member of the Rothschild banking family. A strong supporter of Zionism, his generous donations lent significant support to the movement during its early years, which helped lead to the establishment of the State of Israel.- Early years :A...

 (1845–1934) 1935 donation of 4,000 engravings, 3,000 drawings, and 500 illustrated books. During World War II the museum removed most of the art and hid valuable pieces. On 27 August 1939, after two days of packing, truck convoys began to leave Paris. By 28 December, the museum was cleared of most works, except those that were too heavy and "unimportant paintings [that] were left in the basement". In early 1945, after the liberation of France, art began returning to the Louvre.

Grand Louvre and the Pyramids

By 1874, the Louvre Palace had achieved its present form of an almost rectangular structure with the Sully Wing to the east containing the square Cour Carrée and the oldest parts of the Louvre; and two wings which wrap the Cour Napoléon, the Richelieu Wing to the north and the Denon Wing, which borders the Seine to the south. In 1983, French President François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

 proposed, as one of the Grands Projets of François Mitterrand
Grands Projets of François Mitterrand
The Grands Projets of François Mitterrand was an architectural program to provide modern monuments in Paris, the city of monuments, symbolizing France’s role in art, politics, and economy at the end of the 20th century...

 the Grand Louvre plan to renovate the building and relocate the Finance Ministry, allowing displays throughout the building. Architect I. M. Pei
I. M. Pei
Ieoh Ming Pei , commonly known as I. M. Pei, is a Chinese American architect, often called a master of modern architecture. Born in Canton, China and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Pei drew inspiration at an early age from the gardens at Suzhou...

 was awarded the project and proposed a glass pyramid to stand over a new entrance in the main court, the Cour Napoléon. The pyramid and its underground lobby were inaugurated on 15 October 1988. The second phase of the Grand Louvre plan, La Pyramide Inversée
La Pyramide Inversée
La Pyramide Inversée is a skylight constructed in the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall in front of the Louvre Museum in France...

 (The Inverted Pyramid), was completed in 1993. As of 2002, attendance had doubled since completion.

21st century

The Musée du Louvre contains more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments with more than 60600 square metres (652,293 sq ft) dedicated to the permanent collection. The Louvre exhibits sculptures, objets d'art, paintings, drawings, and archaeological finds. It is the world's most visited museum, averaging 15,000 visitors per day, 65 percent of whom are foreign tourists. In popular culture, the Louvre was a point of interest in the book The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery-detective novel written by Dan Brown. It follows symbologist Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder in Paris's Louvre Museum and discover a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility of Jesus having been married to...

and the 2006 film based on the book. The museum earned $2.5 million by allowing filming in its galleries.

Administration

The Louvre is owned by the French government; however, since the nineties it has become more independent. Since 2003, the museum has been required to generate funds for projects. By 2006, government funds had dipped from 75 percent of the total budget to 62 percent. In 2008, the French government provided $180 million of the Louvre's yearly $350 million budget; the remainder came from private contributions and ticket sales.

The Louvre employs a staff of 2,000 led by Director Henri Loyrette
Henri Loyrette
Henri Loyrette was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris. He became first curator and then director of the Musée d'Orsay in 1978 and 1994 respectively. He became director of the Louvre Museum in 2001.-Career:...

, who reports to the French Ministry of Culture and Communications. Under Loyrette, who replaced Pierre Rosenberg
Pierre Rosenberg
Pierre Max Rosenberg is a French art historian and essayist.Born in Paris, he graduated at the École du Louvre. He joined the Musée du Louvre in 1962 as an assistant, then became curator and later director of the museum. Rosenberg was elected to the Académie française on 7 December...

 in 2001, the Louvre has undergone policy changes that allow it to lend and borrow more works than before. In 2006, it loaned 1,300 works, which enabled it to borrow more foreign works. From 2006 to 2009, the Louvre lent artwork to the High Museum of Art
High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art , located in Atlanta, is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States and one of the most-visited art museums in the world. Located on Peachtree Street in Midtown, the city's arts district, the High is a division of the Woodruff Arts Center.-History:The Museum was...

 in Atlanta, Georgia, and received a $6.9 million payment to be used for renovations. In addition, the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi generated further income for the museum. Loyrette has tried to improve weak parts of the collection through income generated from loans of art and by guaranteeing that "20% of admissions receipts will be taken annually for acquisitions". He has more administrative independence for the museum and achieved 90 percent of galleries to be open daily, as opposed to 80 percent previously. He oversaw the creation of extended hours and free admission on Friday nights and an increase in the acquisition budget to $36 million from $4.5 million.

Lens

In 2004, French officials decided to build a satellite museum on the site of an abandoned coal pit in the former mining town of Lens
Lens, Pas-de-Calais
Lens is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. It is one of France's large Picarde cities along with Lille, Valenciennes, Amiens, Roubaix, Tourcoing, Arras, and Douai.-Metropolitan area:...

 to relieve the crowded Paris Louvre, increase total museum visits, and improve the industrial north's economy. Six cities were considered for the project: Amiens, Arras, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Calais, Lens, and Valenciennes. In 2004, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin is a French conservative politician and senator for Vienne.Jean-Pierre Raffarin served as the Prime Minister of France from 6 May 2002 to 31 May 2005, resigning after France's rejection of the referendum on the European Union draft constitution. However, after Raffarin...

 chose Lens to be the site of the new building, called Le Louvre-Lens. Museum officials predicted that the new building, capable of receiving about 600 works of art, would attract up to 500,000 visitors a year when it opened in 2009.

Abu Dhabi

In March 2007, the Louvre announced that a Louvre museum would be completed by 2012 in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

. A 30-year agreement, signed by French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres
Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres
Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres , often known as RDDV, is a French politician, France's Minister of Culture from 2004 to 2007...

 and Sheik Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, will establish the museum in downtown Abu Dhabi in exchange for €832,000,000 (US$1.3 billion). The Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel
Jean Nouvel
Jean Nouvel is a French architect. Nouvel studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l'Architecture...

 and the engineering firm of Buro Happold
Buro Happold
Buro Happold is a professional services firm providing engineering consultancy, design, planning, project management and consulting services for all aspects of buildings, infrastructure and the environment, with its head office in Bath, Somerset...

, will occupy 24000 square metres (258,333.9 sq ft) and will be covered by a roof shaped like a flying saucer. France agreed to rotate between 200 and 300 artworks during a 10-year period; to provide management expertise; and to provide four temporary exhibitions a year for 15 years. The art will come from multiple museums, including the Louvre, the Georges Pompidou Centre
Centre Georges Pompidou
Centre Georges Pompidou is a complex in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil and the Marais...

, the Musée d'Orsay, Versailles, the Musée Guimet
Guimet Museum
The Guimet Museum is a museum of Asian art located at 6, place d'Iéna in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, France...

, the Musée Rodin
Musée Rodin
The Musée Rodin in Paris, France, is a museum that was opened in 1919 in the Hôtel Biron and surrounding grounds. It displays works by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin....

, and the Musée du quai Branly
Musée du quai Branly
thumb|225px|Musée du quai BranlyThe Musée du quai Branly , known in English as the Quai Branly Museum, nicknamed MQB, is a museum in Paris, France that features indigenous art, cultures and civilizations from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The museum is located at 37, quai Branly -...

.

Controversies

The Louvre is involved in controversies that surround cultural property seized during World War II by the Nazis and under Napoleon I. After Nazi occupation, 61,233 articles on more than 150,000 seized artworks returned to France and were assigned to the Office des Biens Privés. In 1949 it entrusted 2130 remaining unclaimed pieces (including 1001 paintings) to the Direction des Musées de France in order to keep them under appropriate conditions of conservation until their restitution, and meanwhile classified them as MNRs (Musees Nationaux Recuperation or, in English : National Museums of Recovered Artwork). Some 10 % to 35 % of the pieces are believed to come from Jewish spoliations and until the identification of their rightful owners, which declined at the end of the 1960s, they are registered indefinitely on separate inventories from the museums collections.

They were exhibited in 1946 and shown all together to the public during four years (1950–1954) in order to allow rightful claimants to identify their properties, then stored or exposed, according to their interest, in several French museums including the Louvre. From 1951 to 1965, about 37 pieces were restituted. Since November 1996, the partly illustrated catalogue of 1947–1949 has been accessible online and completed. In 1997, Prime Minister Alain Juppé
Alain Juppé
Alain Marie Juppé is a French politician currently serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as Prime Minister of France from 1995 to 1997 under President Jacques Chirac and the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs from 2010 to 2011...

 initiated the Mattéoli Commission, headed by Jean Mattéoli
Jean Mattéoli
Jean Mattéoli was a French politician. He was the Minister of Social Affairs during the Raymond Barre administration from 1979 to 1981 and also served as president of the French Economic and Social Council from April 1987 and September 1999.-Biography:Hired in shares of the French Resistance in...

, to investigate the matter and according to the government, the Louvre is in charge of 678 pieces of still unclaimed artworks by their rightful owners. During the late 1990s the comparison of the American war archives, which had not been done before, with the French and German ones as well as two court cases which finally settled some of the heirs' rights (Gentili di Giuseppe and Rosenberg families) allowed more accurate investigations. Since 1996, the restitutions, according sometimes to less formal criteria, concerned 47 more pieces (26 paintings, with 6 from the Louvre including a then displayed Tiepolo), until the last claims of French owners and their heirs ended again in 2006.

According to Serge Klarsfeld, since the now complete and constant publicity which the artworks got in 1996, the majority of the French Jewish community is nevertheless in favour of the return to the normal French civil rule of prescription acquisitive of any unclaimed good after another long period of time and consequently to their ultimate integration into the common French heritage instead of their transfer to foreign institutions like during World War II.

Napoleon's campaigns acquired Italian pieces by treaties, as war reparations, and Northern European pieces as spoils as well as some antiquities excavated in Egypt, though the vast majority of the latter were seized as war reparations by the British army and are now part of collections of the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

. On the other hand, the Dendera zodiac
Dendera zodiac
The sculptured Dendera zodiac is a widely known Egyptian bas-relief from the ceiling of the pronaos of a chapel dedicated to Osiris in the Hathor temple at Dendera, containing images of Taurus and the Libra . This chapel was begun in the late Ptolemaic period; its pronaos was added by the...

 is, like the Rosetta stone
Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek...

, claimed by Egypt even though it was acquired in 1821, before the Egyptian Anti-export legislation of 1835. The Louvre administration has thus argued in favor of retaining this item despite requests by Egypt for its return. The museum participates too in arbitration sessions held via UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

's Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to Its Countries of Origin. The museum consequently returned in 2009 five Egyptian fragments of frescoes (30 cm x 15 cm each) whose existence of the tomb of origin had only been brought to the authorities attention in 2008, eight to five years after their good-faith acquisition by the museum from two private collections and after the necessary respect of the procedure of déclassement from French public collections before the Commission scientifique nationale des collections des musées de France.

Collections

The Musée du Louvre contains more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments.

Egyptian antiquities

The department, comprising over 50,000 pieces, includes artifacts from the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 civilizations which date from 4,000 BC to the 4th century. The collection, among the world's largest, overviews Egyptian life spanning Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, the Middle Kingdom
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

, the New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

, Coptic art
Coptic art
Coptic art is a term used either for the art of Egypt produced in the early Christian era or for the art produced by the Coptic Christians themselves. Coptic art is most well known for its wall-paintings, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, and metalwork, much of which survives in monasteries and...

, and the Roman, Ptolemaic, and Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 periods. The department's origins lie in the royal collection, but it was augmented by Napoleon's 1798 expeditionary trip with Dominique Vivant
Dominique Vivant
Dominique Vivant, Baron de Denon was a French artist, writer, diplomat, author, and archaeologist. He was appointed first director of the Louvre Museum by Napoleon after the Egyptian campaign of 1798-1801.-Biography:...

, the future director of the Louvre. After Jean-François Champollion
Jean-François Champollion
Jean-François Champollion was a French classical scholar, philologist and orientalist, decipherer of the Egyptian hieroglyphs....

 translated the Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek...

, Charles X
Charles X of France
Charles X was known for most of his life as the Comte d'Artois before he reigned as King of France and of Navarre from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. A younger brother to Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him...

 decreed that an Egyptian Antiquities department be created. Champollion advised the purchase of three collections, the Durand, Salt and Drovetti; these additions added 7,000 works. Growth continued via acquisitions by Auguste Mariette
Auguste Mariette
François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette was a French scholar, archaeologist and Egyptologist, the designer of the rebuilt Egyptian Museum under Maximilian of Austria orders when the later had gained control of the artifacts collected to that point.-Early career:Born at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Mariette...

, founder of the Egyptian Museum
Egyptian Museum
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, the remainder in storerooms....

 in Cairo. Mariette, after excavations at Memphis
Memphis, Egypt
Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south of Cairo.According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3000 BC. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an...

, sent back crates of archaeological finds including The Seated Scribe
The Seated Scribe
The sculpture of the Seated Scribe is one of the most important examples of ancient Egyptian art. It represents a figure of a seated scribe at work. The sculpture was discovered at Saqqara in 1850 and dated to the period of the 4th Dynasty, 2620–2500 BCE...

.

Guarded by the Large Sphinx (c. 2000 BC), the collection is housed in more than 20 rooms. Holdings include art, papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

 scrolls, mummies, tools, clothing, jewelry, games, musical instruments, and weapons. Pieces from the ancient period include the Gebel el-Arak Knife
Gebel el-Arak Knife
The Gebel el-Arak Knife is a 25.50 cm long knife dating from circa 3300 to 3200 BC, the late pre-dynastic period in Egypt, which when it was purchased in Cairo was said to have been found at the site of Gebel el-Arak, south of Abydos....

from 3400 BC, The Seated Scribe, and the Head of King Djedefre. Middle Kingdom art, "known for its gold work and statues", moved from realism to idealization; this is exemplified by the schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

 statue of Amenemhatankh
Amenemhatankh
Amenemhatankh was an ancient Egyptian prince of the 12th dynasty, a son of Amenemhat II. He is mentioned on a false door which was originally in his tomb but was found reused in the tomb of Khenemet and Siese in Dahshur...

 and the wooden Offering Bearer. The New Kingdom and Coptic Egyptian sections are deep, but the statue of the goddess Nephthys
Nephthys
In Egyptian mythology, Nephthys is a member of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis, a daughter of Nut and Geb. Nephthys was typically paired with her sister Isis in funerary rites because of their role as protectors of the mummy and the god Osiris and as the sister-wife of Seth.Nephthys is regarded as...

 and the limestone depiction of the goddess Hathor
Hathor
Hathor , is an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of love, beauty, music, motherhood and joy. She was one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt...

 demonstrate New Kingdom sentiment and wealth.

Near Eastern antiquities

Near Eastern antiquities, the second newest department, dates from 1881 and presents an overview of early Near Eastern civilization and "first settlements", before the arrival of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The department is divided into three geographic areas: the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, and Persia (Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

) . The collection's development corresponds to archaeological work such as Paul-Émile Botta
Paul-Émile Botta
Paul-Émile Botta was a French scientist who served as Consul in Mosul from 1842.-Life:...

's 1843 expedition to Khorsabad and the discovery of Sargon II
Sargon II
Sargon II was an Assyrian king. Sargon II became co-regent with Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and became the sole ruler of the kingdom of Assyria in 722 BC after the death of Shalmaneser V. It is not clear whether he was the son of Tiglath-Pileser III or a usurper unrelated to the royal family...

's palace. These finds formed the basis of the Assyrian museum, the precursor to today's department.

The museum contains exhibits from Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

 and the city of Akkad
Akkad
The Akkadian Empire was an empire centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region in Mesopotamia....

, with monuments such as the Prince of Lagash's Stele of the Vultures from 2,450 BC and the stele
Stele
A stele , also stela , is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief , or painted onto the slab...

 erected by Naram-Sin, King of Akkad, to celebrate a victory over barbarians in the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
The Zagros Mountains are the largest mountain range in Iran and Iraq. With a total length of 1,500 km , from northwestern Iran, and roughly correlating with Iran's western border, the Zagros range spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau and ends at the Strait of...

. The 2.25 metres (7.38 ft) Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating to ca. 1780 BC . It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay...

, discovered in 1901, displays Babylonian Law
Babylonian law
Archaeological material for the study of Babylonian law is singularly extensive. So-called "contracts" exist in the thousands, including a great variety of deeds, conveyances, bonds, receipts, accounts, and most important of all, actual legal decisions given by the judges in the law courts...

s prominently, so that no man could plead their ignorance.

The Persian portion of Louvre contains work from the archaic period, like the Funerary Head and the Persian Archers of Darius I. This section is also contains rare objects from Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

 which were also lent to British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

 for its Ancient Persia exihibition in 2005.

Greek, Etruscan, and Roman

The Greek, Etruscan, and Roman department displays pieces from the Mediterranean Basin dating from the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 to the 6th century. The collection spans from the Cycladic period
History of the Cyclades
The Cyclades are Greek islands located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea. The archipelago contains some 2,200 islands, islets and rocks; just 33 islands are inhabited. For the ancients, they formed a circle around the sacred island of Delos, hence the name of the archipelago...

 to the decline of the Roman Empire. This department is one of the museum's oldest; it began with appropriated royal art, some of which was acquired under Francis I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

. Initially, the collection focused on marble sculptures, such as the Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo
Aphrodite of Milos , better known as the Venus de Milo, is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created at some time between 130 and 100 BC, it is believed to depict Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love and beauty. It is a marble sculpture, slightly...

. Works such as the Apollo Belvedere
Apollo Belvedere
The Apollo Belvedere or Apollo of the Belvedere—also called the Pythian Apollo— is a celebrated marble sculpture from Classical Antiquity. It was rediscovered in central Italy in the late 15th century, during the Renaissance...

arrived during the Napoleonic Wars, but these pieces were returned after Napoleon I's fall in 1815. In the 19th century, the Louvre acquired works including vases from the Durand collection, bronzes such as the Borghese Vase
Borghese Vase
The Borghese Vase is a monumental bell-shaped krater sculpted in Athens from Pentelic marble in the second half of the 1st century BC as a garden ornament for the Roman market; it is now in the Louvre Museum.-Iconography:...

from the Bibliothèque nationale.

The archaic is demonstrated by jewellery and pieces such as the limestone Lady of Auxerre
Lady of Auxerre
The relatively small limestone Cretan sculpture called the Lady of Auxerre, , at the Louvre Museum in Paris depicts an archaic Greek goddess of c. 650 - 625 BC...

, from 640 BC; and the cylindrical Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

 of Samos
, circa 570–560 BC. After the 4th century BC, focus on the human form increased, exemplified by the Borghese Gladiator
Borghese Gladiator
The Borghese Gladiator is a Hellenistic lifesize marble sculpture actually portraying a swordsman, created at Ephesus about 100 BCE. It is signed on the pedestal by Agasias, son of Dositheus, who is otherwise unknown.-Rediscovery:...

. The Louvre holds masterpieces from the Hellenistic era, including The Winged Victory of Samothrace (190 BC) and the Venus de Milo, symbolic of classical art. The long Galerie Campana displays an outstanding collection of more than one thousand Greek potteries. In the galleries paralleling the Seine, much of the museum's Roman sculpture is displayed. The Roman portraiture is representative of that genre; examples include the portraits of Agrippa and Annius Verus
Marcus Annius Verus
Marcus Annius Verus was a Roman man who lived in the 1st and 2nd century. He was the son of an elder Marcus Annius Verus, who gained the rank of senator and praetor. His family originated from Uccibi near Corduba in Spain...

; among the bronzes is the Greek Apollo of Piombino
Apollo of Piombino
The Apollo of Piombino or the Piombino Boy is a famous Greek bronze statuette in late Archaic style that depicts the god as a kouros or youth, or it may be a worshipper bringing an offering. The bronze is inlaid with copper for the boy's lips, eyebrows and nipples...

.

Islamic art

The Islamic art collection, the museum's newest, spans "thirteen centuries and three continents". These exhibits, comprising ceramics, glass, metalware, wood, ivory, carpet, textiles, and miniatures, include more than 5,000 works and 1,000 shards. Originally part of the decorative arts department, the holdings became separate in 2003. Among the works are the Pyxide d'al-Mughira, a 10th century ivory box from Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

; the Baptistery of Saint-Louis, an engraved brass basin from the 13th or 14 century Mamluk
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt was the final independent Egyptian state prior to the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1805. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, Arabised...

 period; and the 10th century Shroud of Josse from Iran. The collection contains three pages of the Shahnameh
Shahnameh
The Shahnameh or Shah-nama is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c.977 and 1010 AD and is the national epic of Iran and related societies...

, an epic book of poems by Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the...

 in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, and a Syrian metalwork named the Barberini Vase.

Sculpture

The sculpture department comprises work created before 1850 that does not belong in the Etruscan, Greek, and Roman department. The Louvre has been a repository of sculpted material since its time as a palace; however, only ancient architecture was displayed until 1824, except for Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

's Dying Slave
Dying Slave
The Dying Slave is a sculpture by the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Created between 1513 and 1516, it was to serve with another figure, the Rebellious Slave, at the tomb of Pope Julius II. It is a marble figure 2.28 metres in height, and is held at the Louvre, Paris.The man's left wrist...

and Rebellious Slave. Initially the collection included only 100 pieces, the rest of the royal sculpture collection being at Versailles. It remained small until 1847, when Léon Laborde was given control of the department. Laborde developed the medieval section and purchased the first such statues and sculptures in the collection, King Childebert
Childebert I
Childebert I was the Frankish king of Paris, a Merovingian dynast, one of the four sons of Clovis I who shared the kingdom of the Franks upon their father's death in 511...

and stanga door, respectively. The collection was part of the Department of Antiquities but was given autonomy in 1871 under Louis Courajod
Louis Courajod
Louis Charles Jean Courajod was a French art historian, museum curator and connoisseur-collector, who was born and died in Paris.....

, a director who organized a wider representation of French works. In 1986, all post-1850 works were relocated to the new Musée d'Orsay. The Grand Louvre project separated the department into two exhibition spaces; the French collection is displayed in the Richelieu wing, and foreign works in the Denon wing.

The collection's overview of French sculpture contains Romanesque works such as the 11th century Daniel in the Lions' Den and the 12th century Virgin of Auvergne. In the 16th century, Renaissance influence caused French sculpture to become more restrained, as seen in Jean Goujon
Jean Goujon
Jean Goujon was a French Renaissance sculptor and architect.-Biography:His early life is little known; he was likely born in Normandy and may have traveled in Italy...

's bas-reliefs, and Germain Pilon
Germain Pilon
Germain Pilon was a French Renaissance sculptor.-Biography:He was born in Paris. Trained by his father and Pierre Bontemps, Pilon was an expert with marble, bronze, wood and terra cotta; from about 1555 he was providing models for Parisian goldsmiths...

's Descent from the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. The 17th and 18th centuries are represented by Étienne Maurice Falconet
Étienne Maurice Falconet
Étienne Maurice Falconet is counted among the first rank of French Rococo sculptors, whose patron was Mme de Pompadour.-Life:Falconet was born to a poor family in Paris...

's Woman Bathing and Amour menaçant and François Anguier's obelisks. Neoclassical
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 works includes Antonio Canova
Antonio Canova
Antonio Canova was an Italian sculptor from the Republic of Venice who became famous for his marble sculptures that delicately rendered nude flesh...

's Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss
Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss
Antonio Canova's statue Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss, first commissioned in 1787, exemplifies the Neoclassical devotion to love and emotion. It represents the god Cupid in the height of love and tenderness, immediately after awakening the lifeless Psyche with a kiss, a scene excerpted from Lucius...

(1787).

Decorative arts

The Objets d'art collection spans from the Middle Ages to the mid-19th century. The department began as a subset of the sculpture department, based on royal property and the transfer of work from the Basilique Saint-Denis, the burial ground of French monarchs that held the Coronation Sword of the Kings of France. Among the budding collection's most prized works were pietre dure vases and bronzes. The Durand collection's 1825 acquisition added "ceramics, enamels, and stained glass", and 800 pieces were given by Pierre Révoil. The onset of Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 rekindled interest in Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 and Medieval artwork, and the Sauvageot donation expanded the department with 1,500 middle-age and faïence
Faience
Faience or faïence is the conventional name in English for fine tin-glazed pottery on a delicate pale buff earthenware body, originally associated with Faenza in northern Italy. The invention of a white pottery glaze suitable for painted decoration, by the addition of an oxide of tin to the slip...

 works. In 1862, the Campana collection added gold jewelry and maiolicas, mainly from the 15th and 16th centuries.

The works are displayed on the Richelieu Wing's first floor and in the Apollo Gallery, named by the painter Charles Le Brun, who was commissioned by Louis XIV (the Sun King) to decorate the space in a solar theme. The medieval collection contains the coronation crown of Louis XIV, Charles V's
Charles V of France
Charles V , called the Wise, was King of France from 1364 to his death in 1380 and a member of the House of Valois...

 sceptre, and the 12th century porphyry vase. The Renaissance art holdings include Giambologna
Giambologna
Giambologna, born as Jean Boulogne, incorrectly known as Giovanni da Bologna and Giovanni Bologna , was a sculptor, known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.- Biography :...

's bronze Nessus and Deianira and the tapestry Maximillian's Hunt. From later periods, highlights include Madame de Pompadour
Madame de Pompadour
Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, also known as Madame de Pompadour was a member of the French court, and was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to her death.-Biography:...

's Sèvres
Sèvres
Sèvres is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris.The town is known for its porcelain manufacture, the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, making the famous Sèvres porcelain, as well as being the location of the International Bureau of Weights...

 vase collection and Napoleon III
Napoleon III of France
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

's apartments.
In September 2000, the Louvre Museum dedicated the Gilbert Chagoury
Gilbert R. Chagoury
Gilbert Ramez Chagoury is a Lebanese-Nigerian businessman, diplomat and philanthropist. Chagoury was born to Lebanese immigrant parents in Lagos, Nigeria...

 and Rose-Marie Chagoury Gallery to display tapestries donated by the Chagoury's, including a 16th century six-part tapestry, sewn with gold and silver threads representing sea divinities, which was commissioned in Paris for Colbert de Seignelay, then Secretary of State for the Navy.

Painting

The painting collection has more than 6,000 works from the 13th century to 1848 and is managed by 12 curators who oversee the collection's display. Nearly two-thirds are by French artists, and more than 1,200 are Northern European. The Italian paintings compose most of the remnants of Francis I and Louis XIV's collections, others are unreturned artwork from the Napoleon era, and some were bought. The collection began with Francis, who acquired works from Italian masters such as Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

 and Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, and brought Leonardo da Vinci to his court. After the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, the Royal Collection formed the nucleus of the Louvre. When the d'Orsay train station was converted into the Musée d'Orsay
Musée d'Orsay
The Musée d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, an impressive Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture,...

 in 1986, the collection was split, and pieces completed after the 1848 Revolution were moved to the new museum. French and Northern European works are in the Richelieu wing and Cour Carrée; Spanish and Italian paintings are on the first floor of the Denon wing.

Exemplifying the French School are the early Avignon Pietà
Pieta of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon is a 15th century oil painting considered one of the outstanding works of art of the late Middle Ages. Following its appearance at an exhibition in 1904 its authorship was disputed, though it has since been accepted as the work of Enguerrand Quarton.The Pietà, where...

of Enguerrand Quarton
Enguerrand Quarton
Enguerrand Quarton was a French painter and manuscript illuminator whose few surviving works are among the first masterpieces of a distinctively French style, very different from either Italian or Early Netherlandish painting...

; the anonymous painting of King Jean le Bon (c.1360), possibly the oldest independent portrait in Western painting to survive from the postclassical era; Hyacinthe Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud was a French baroque painter of Catalan origin whose career was based in Paris.He is renowned for his portrait paintings of Louis XIV, the royalty and nobility of Europe, and members of their courts and considered one of the most notable French portraitists of the classical period...

's Louis XIV; Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David was an influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era...

's The Coronation of Napoleon
The Coronation of Napoleon
The Coronation of Napoleon is a painting completed in 1807 by Jacques-Louis David, the official painter of Napoleon.The painting has imposing dimensions, as it is almost ten metres wide by approximately six metres tall...

; and Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

's Liberty Leading the People
Liberty Leading the People
Liberty Leading the People is a painting by Eugène Delacroix commemorating the July Revolution of 1830, which toppled Charles X of France. A woman personifying Liberty leads the people forward over the bodies of the fallen, holding the tricouleur flag of the French Revolution in one hand and...

. Northern European works include Johannes Vermeer
Johannes Vermeer
Johannes, Jan or Johan Vermeer was a Dutch painter who specialized in exquisite, domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime...

's The Lacemaker
The Lacemaker (Vermeer)
The Lacemaker is a painting by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer , completed between 1669–1670 and held in the Louvre, Paris. The work shows a young woman dressed in a yellow shawl, 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...

and The Astronomer; Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning...

's The Tree of Crows
The Tree of Crows
The Tree of Crows is an oil painting of 1822 by the German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich. It is currently housed in the Musée du Louvre in Paris....

; Rembrandt's The Supper at Emmaus, Bathsheba at Her Bath
Bathsheba at Her Bath
Bathsheba at Her Bath is an oil painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt finished in 1654. A depiction that is both sensual and empathetic, it shows a moment from the Old Testament story in which King David sees Bathsheba bathing and, entranced, seduces and impregnates her...

, and The Slaughtered Ox.

The Italian holdings are notable, particularly the Renaissance collection. The works include Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g., by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality...

 and Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it...

's Calvarys, which reflect realism and detail "meant to depict the significant events of a greater spiritual world". The High Renaissance collection includes Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa is a portrait by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is a painting in oil on a poplar panel, completed circa 1503–1519...

, Virgin and Child with St. Anne, St. John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist (Leonardo)
St. John the Baptist is an oil painting on walnut wood by the artist Leonardo da Vinci. Completed from 1513 to 1516, when the High Renaissance was metamorphosing into Mannerism, it is believed to be his last painting. The original size of the work was 69x57 cm. It is now exhibited at the Musée du...

, and Madonna of the Rocks. Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

 is represented by The Fortune Teller
The Fortune Teller (Caravaggio)
The Fortune Teller is a painting by Italian Baroque master Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It exists in two versions, both by Caravaggio, the first from 1594 , the second from 1595...

and Death of the Virgin
Death of the Virgin (Caravaggio)
The Death of the Virgin is a painting completed by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. It is a near contemporary with the Madonna with Saint Anne now at the Galleria Borghese...

. From 16th century Venice, the Louvre displays Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

's Le Concert Champetre, The Entombment and The Crowning with Thorns.
The La Caze Collection, a bequest to the Musée du Louvre in 1869 by Louis La Caze
Louis La Caze
Dr. Louis La Caze was a successful French physician and collector of paintings whose bequest of 583 paintings to the Musée du Louvre was one of the largest the museum has ever received...

 was the largest contribution of a person in the history of the Louvre. La Caze gave 584 paintings of his personal collection to the museum. The bequest included Antoine Watteau
Antoine Watteau
Jean-Antoine Watteau was a French painter whose brief career spurred the revival of interest in colour and movement...

's Commedia dell'arte player of Pierrot ("Gilles"). In 2007, this bequest was the topic of the exhibition "1869: Watteau, Chardin... entrent au Louvre. La collection La Caze".

Some of the best known paintings of the museum have been digitized by the French Center for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France.

Prints and drawings

The prints
Old master print
An old master print is a work of art produced by a printing process within the Western tradition . A date of about 1830 is usually taken as marking the end of the period whose prints are covered by this term. The main techniques concerned are woodcut, engraving and etching, although there are...

 and drawings department encompasses works on paper. The origins of the collection were the 8,600 works in the Royal Collection (Cabinet du Roi), which were increased via state appropriation, purchases such as the 1,200 works from Fillipo Baldinucci's collection in 1806, and donations. The department opened on 5 August 1797, with 415 pieces displayed in the Galerie d'Apollon. The collection is organized into three sections: the core Cabinet du Roi, 14,000 royal copper printing-plates, and the donations of Edmond de Rothschild
Edmond James de Rothschild
Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild was a French member of the Rothschild banking family. A strong supporter of Zionism, his generous donations lent significant support to the movement during its early years, which helped lead to the establishment of the State of Israel.- Early years :A...

, which include 40,000 prints, 3,000 drawings, and 5,000 illustrated books. The holdings are displayed in the Pavillon de Flore; due to the fragility of the paper medium, only a portion are displayed at one time.

Location, access and facilities

The museum lies in the centre of Paris on the Right Bank. The neighborhood, known as the 1st arrondissement, is home to the destroyed Palais des Tuileries. The adjacent Tuileries Gardens, created in 1564 by Catherine de Medici, was designed in 1664 by André Le Nôtre
André Le Nôtre
André Le Nôtre was a French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France...

. The gardens house the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume
Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume
The Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume is a museum of contemporary art in the north-west corner of the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.The building was constructed in 1861 during the reign of Napoleon III...

, a contemporary art
Contemporary art
Contemporary art can be defined variously as art produced at this present point in time or art produced since World War II. The definition of the word contemporary would support the first view, but museums of contemporary art commonly define their collections as consisting of art produced...

 museum that was used to store Jewish cultural property from 1940 to 1944. Parallel to the Jeu de Paume is the Orangerie, home to the famous Waterlilly paintings by Monet.

The Louvre is slightly askew of the axe historique
Axe historique
The Axe historique is a line of monuments, buildings and thoroughfares that extends from the centre of Paris, France, to the west. It is also known as the "Voie Triomphale" ....

 (Historic Axis), a roughly eight-kilometre (five-mile) architectural line bisecting the city. It begins on the east in the Louvre courtyard and runs west along the Champs-Élysées
Champs-Élysées
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a prestigious avenue in Paris, France. With its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets and one of the most expensive strip of real estate in the world. The name is...

. In 1871, the burning of the Tuileries Palace by the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

 revealed that the Louvre was slightly askew of the Axe despite past appearances to the contrary. The Louvre can be reached by the Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre
Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre (Paris Metro)
Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre is a station on lines 1 and 7 of the Paris Métro.It is one of the eight original stations opened as part of the first section of line 1 between Porte de Vincennes and Porte Maillot on 19 July 1900, under the name Palais Royal. The line 7 platforms were opened on 1...

 Métro
Paris Métro
The Paris Métro or Métropolitain is the rapid transit metro system in Paris, France. It has become a symbol of the city, noted for its density within the city limits and its uniform architecture influenced by Art Nouveau. The network's sixteen lines are mostly underground and run to 214 km ...

 or the Louvre-Rivoli
Louvre - Rivoli (Paris Metro)
Louvre Rivoli is a station on Paris Métro Line 1. It is near the Louvre and Rue de Rivoli.The station was opened on 13 August 1900, almost a month after trains began running on the original section of line 1 between Porte de Vincennes and Porte Maillot on 19 July 1900, under the name Louvre...

 stations.

There are three entrances: the main entrance at the pyramid, an entrance from the Carrousel du Louvre
Carrousel du Louvre
The Carousel du Louvre is an underground shopping mall in Paris, France. The name refers to two nearby sites, the Louvre museum and the Place du Carrousel...

 underground shopping mall, and an entrance at the Porte des Lions (near the western end of the Denon wing).

Under the main entrance to the museum is the Carrousel du Louvre
Carrousel du Louvre
The Carousel du Louvre is an underground shopping mall in Paris, France. The name refers to two nearby sites, the Louvre museum and the Place du Carrousel...

, a shopping mall operated by Unibail-Rodamco
Unibail-Rodamco
Unibail-Rodamco is a French-Dutch company, headquartered in Paris, that focuses on investment in commercial property. It is the largest commercial real estate company in Europe. The main assets managed by the company fall into three categories: shopping centres, convention centres and office...

. Among other stores, it has the first Apple Store in France, and a McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 restaurant, the presence of which has created controversy.

The use of cameras and video recorders is permitted inside. Use of flashes is forbidden.

See also

  • American Friends of the Louvre
    American Friends of the Louvre
    The American Friends of the Louvre is an organization which seeks to raise awareness of the Louvre’s collections and museum expertise and helps to make the Louvre’s exhibitions and permanent collection more accessible to all English-speaking visitors...

  • Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France
    Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France
    The Centre for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France is the national research centre in France responsible for the documentation, conservation and restoration of the items held in the collections of more than 1,200 museums across France...

  • List of museums in Paris
  • Musée de la Mode et du Textile
    Musée de la Mode et du Textile
    The Musée de la Mode et du Textile is a museum of fashion and textiles located in the Louvre in the Ier arrondissement, 107, rue de Rivoli, Paris, France...


External links

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