My Louvre Highlights

My visit to the Louvre last December shifted the way I experience museums. I have formulated a new method of making the most of my museum experience which I have laid out in below steps:

  1. research key pieces
  2. Make a list of pieces to see and where they are found in the gallery
  3. order the pieces by location and formulate a list which would make it easiest to visit them all
  4. visit alone
  5. get the audio guide
  6. sketch favourite pieces and annotate according to audio guide
  7. after a month, revisit notes and add any other notes/feelings/commentary

The Louvre located on the right bank in Paris was originally a fortress under Phillip II to protect the city from English soldiers in Normandy. In 1682, Lousi XIV chose the Versailles for his main residence and therefore the Louvre became a residence to display the royal collections. However, during the French revolution, the National Assembly decided that it would be utilised to display the nation’s masterpiece. This piece of information is crucial to understanding the works displayed here as many were acquired by royals for their own collection however later expanded to “preserve the national memory”.

Under Napoleon’s reign and the French Revolutionary wars were more pieces acquired. For example, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Austrian works were extracted from treaties such as the treaty of Tolentino and the Treaty of Campo Formio. These treaties marked Napoleon’s conquests and palaces and churches were looted by the French, including Saint Mark’s Basilica. At the time, critics such as Quatremere de Quincy lamented the French authorities for “eradicating the context in which the work was created”; an issue which should be explored during a visit to the Louvre or any other institution.

It’s important to remember that Napoleon wanted France to become the centre of the world for art, science and culture. This meant assuming authority on the international stage and liberating works perceived as endangered by nationalising the art of their colonies. Walking through the Lourve, there is a sense of this grandeur, The museum itself excels in giants paintings that evoke sentimental feelings comparable of visiting the cathedral in cologne or visiting the yellow mountains in anhui.

Grand paintings

  1. Gericault’s raft of Medusa
  2. Wedding Feast at Cana by Paolo Vernose
  3. The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-louis David
  4. Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix

Sculptures

5. Winged victory of Samothrace 2200

6. Psyche revived by Cupid’s kiss by Atonio Canova –

7. Venus de Milo

8. Sleeping hermaphroditus by Gian Lorenzo Berini

9. The dying and rebellious slave by Michelangelo

European classics

10. Portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud

11. Grande Odalisque – Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

12. La Belle Ferronnière by unknown

13. The Astronomer by Johannes Vermeer

14. Death of the Virgin by Caravaggio

15. Ship of Fools – Hieronymus Bosch

Artefacts

16 Human-headed winged bulls

17. Hammurabi’s code

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