Paris - Ile De France

Louvre Museum - world class art collections

This page was updated on: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at: 6:40 pm

Louvre Museum, the world-class art collections

The Louvre Museum presents the largest collection of art in the world.

As a result it boasts a record attendance with over 8.6 million visitors a year - 30,000 a day!

The splendid collection of books gathered by King Charles V was unfortunately dispersed over the centuries.

François I commissioned the great painters of the Renaissance to contribute a new collection.

Exhibitions of paintings and sculptures were indeed already open to the public in the 17th century.

His successors, in particular, Napoleon I and Napoleon III considerably enlarged these collections.

Fortunately, the Louvre Palace was not pulled down, but converted into a museum at the French Revolution.

Pei's Pyramid in the Louvre Museum

The Louvre boasts exceptional art collections and stunning architecture.

Its main entrance, Pei's Pyramid, is located in the Cour Napoleon, on the western side of the palace.

The late President Francois Mitterrand commissioned the architect I.M.Pei  with its construction in 1984.

The 21m high glass pyramid is surrounded by three smaller pyramids.

Seven-hundred diamond-shaped glass panes fixed on a stainless-steel frame reflect the light.

It was completed in 1989.

It leads straight down to the vast and bright entrance lobby of the Louvre Museum.

The pyramid extends indoors with a Pyramide Inversée.

The tip of the Inverted Pyramid is suspended 1.4m above ground and points down to a 1m high marble pyramid.

The Louvre Pyramid is one of many Parisian monuments illuminated at night.

Highly controverted during its construction, it is now one of Paris' landmarks!

Vieux Louvre

The lobby provides direct access to the vestiges of the medieval Louvre Fortress.

The embankment of the drawbridge, the foundations of the Vieux Louvre and massive tower that housed the royal library are still visible.

A model of the medieval fortress helps you understand the layout of the medieval building.

The 31m high Grosse Tour had a diameter of 18m.

François I demolished it in 1546 during the palace's renovation.

The Vieux Louvre accesses the musuem's exhibition galleries.

Louvre Museum, a brief overview

The Louvre museum was reorganized after 1981.

It offers the largest art collections in the world.

Until September 2012, it was organized in seven departments dedicated to:

Paintings (Raft of Medusa, Wedding at Cana, Mona Lisa...).

Drawings, sculptures (Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus of Milo, Marly Horses, Three Graces ...)

Egyptian Antiquities (Seated Scribe, an exceptional work of art dating back 4500 years and notable for the realism of its details, sarcophagi, mummies...).

Oriental Antiquities (Archers Frieze, Assyrian bas-reliefs ...).

Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities (Venus de Milo, Fragments of the Parthenon of Athens ...) and art objects (jewellery and furniture…)

More than 400 000 exhibits are displayed in the 370 halls which are dispatched along three main galleries.

The Sully Wing was open in the Square Court.

The Denon Gallery occupies the Waterside Gallery.

The Richelieu Wing, along Rue de Rivoli, was home to the Ministry of Finance until 1981.

Islamic Art Gallery - Aile Visconti

An eighth department devoted to Islamic Art collections was planned in 2003 at the initiative of president Jacques Chirac.

It was inaugurated on September 22, 2012.

This new wing is the most significant addition to the Louvre Museum since its iconic glass pyramid.

These unique collections, the largest in the Western world, consist of about 18,000 objects.

You will find Syrian and Egyptian jewelry, ivories, miniatures and Ottoman ceramics from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Exceptional carpets and unique textiles such as the Shroud of St. Josse are on display.

Nearly 4000 pieces, granted by the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Museum of Fashion and Textile, enrich the Louvre Museum's new collection of Islamic Art.

It perfectly illustrates the Islamic civilization from Spain to India, from the 7th to the 19th century.

It displays 1200 years of history distributed on three continents!

Construction of the 'Flying Carpet'

The main difficulty in creating this new department was the lack of space.

Indeed all the exhibition halls of the prestigious Louvre Museum were already saturated.

The only way to create new space was therefore to open the Cour Visconti, one of the last available areas in the Louvre!

The construction of the new department was entrusted to the architects Rudy Ricciotti and Mario Bellini.

Work began in 2009 and thousands of cubic meters of earth were excavated in order to lower the level of the courtyard.

The Louvre Museum's original foundations located 2.5 m deep were strengthened.

Pumps were put in place to dry the bottom of the excavation located 8m deep at the level of the water table, and allow the pouring of a waterproof concrete screed.

The cavity thus obtained allowed the creation of two underground floors partly lit by means of mezzanines, and a ground floor at ground level.

A glass and metal frame was rooted in the historic facades overlooking the Cour Visconti in order to preserve their visibility.

This superb undulating canopy, which appears to float in the air, was nicknamed the Flying Carpet!

The cost of the construction work totaled € 100 million.

The French State funded at 30%; Companies Total and Lafarge contribute 10-million.

Prince al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a nephew of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, contributed €17-million on behalf of his foundation.

Finally, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad on behalf of the State of Kuwait, Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the Omani people and the Republic of Azerbaijan contributed the remaining funds.

Directions: 1st District
Metro: Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre on Lines 1, 7
Coordinates: Lat 48.860997 - Long 2.336038

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