One of the most fascinating museums globally is the Louvre Museum in Paris. The Louvre history and the museum are filled with many interesting facts.
The Louvre is the largest museum globally; it was once built as a fortress to protect the city of Paris. Under the French Republic’s rule, General Napoleon expanded the Louvre’s collections. One of the most important paintings at the Louvre is the Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
The Louvre museum is said to have ghosts that roam the halls; discover these and other facts by reading our top seven Louvre museum facts.
Our Top 7 Facts About the Louvre Museum
The Louvre – Largest Museum In The World
The Louvre, located in Paris, France, is considered the most significant museum globally. The Louvre museum covers a total area of 72,735 m² or 782,910 ft.² of gallery space. To put this into perspective, this would be the size of about 280 tennis courts.
It isn’t easy to see all the exhibitions at the Louvre in just one day; the museum has so much on display and so many exhibitions.
The Louvre is also one of the most visited museums in Paris and worldwide. There are millions of people each year who will go through the doors of the Louvre to visit its many exhibitions.
The Louvre Was Originally Built As Fortress
The Louvre was initially a fortress that goes back to the 12th century when King Philip decided to build a massive fort around the capital of Paris to keep Paris safe from attacks west of the city.
By 1546, the fortress had lost all of its ability to defend the city of Paris as Paris had grown. After it was a fortress, the Louvre became a primary residence for the French kings; it remained the royal palace until the palace moved to Versailles.
The Louvre is standing on the land that has a rich history for not only the city of Paris but also for France. The Louvre is an essential landmark in Paris.
Napoleon Expanded the Louvre Collections
Many French kings collected art, but we need to thank Napoleon and the French revolution for the Louvre museum becoming a museum. During the French revolution in 1791, the Louvre was declared a place for the people to view the sciences and art.
By 1793 the Louvre museum was under the control of the French republic, and it decided the Louvre would display some of the paintings of objects from what was then mainly the royal art collection.
The public at this time was allowed to go into the museum three days per week. This was considered a significant accomplishment during this period to enable the public to view these works of art.
We owe the Louvre and the expansion of the Louvre as a museum to Napoleon and his government; they had the insight to help ensure that the Louvre would be a museum and that the collections of art would be open for the public to be able to view.
Mona Lisa Is A Key Attraction At The Louvre
The key attraction at the Louvre museum is the Mona Lisa painting. Millions of visitors go through the door of the Louvre each year, and almost all these visitors will stop to view the Mona Lisa painting.
The Mona Lisa is considered one of the most valuable paintings globally and one of the most important paintings for the Louvre museum and its collection.
The Louvre Museum Has Ten Departments
The Louvre is divided into ten different departments, which include the following:
- Near Eastern Antiquities – Near eastern antiquities covers a vast geographical area from North Africa to the Indus river and covers a period of six millennia; this collection has over 25 rooms that has some amazing exhibits in it.
- Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre Museum – The Louvre has a Egyptian collection which is one of the most extensive in the world; this collection gives insights into the lives of the ancient Egyptians nobility as well as the ordinary people.
- Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities – The Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities is an extensive collection and important collection. The French Royal Crown started to collect many of these artworks during the 16th century.
- Islamic Art – The Department of Islamic arts was established in 2003 but has art that has been in France’s possession for a long time.
- Sculptures At The Lourve – The Louvre is home to a collection of what is primarily French and other European s`culptures. Today there are some French sculptures (Richelieu Wing) and some foreign sculptures (Demon Wing).
- The Louvre Painting Collection – The Louvre painting department is the famous home of the Mona Lisa painting. But this is just one of 7000 works of art on display. The Louvre has an extensive paintings collection with works of art by French, Italian, German, English, Flemish and Dutch as well as Scandinavian painters.
- Decorative Arts At the Lourve – All kinds of decorative art pieces are on display at the Louvre decorative art collection; the collection covers the whole decorative arts spectrum from tapestries, goldsmith, stain glass and ceramics.
- The Louvres Graphic Arts – The graphic art collection is a leading collection of drawings from around the world. The Louvre Graphic Arts collection is so extensive that not all the works they have can be shown at one time.
The Lovre is such an enormous museum it isn’t easy to see all their collections in just one day. Most visitors need to prioritize what they want to see and which collections are the most important to view.
The Louvre Museum Is Said To Have Ghosts
Urban legend has it that some ghosts haunt the halls of the Louvre museum. Here are some of their more famous Louvre ghost legends:
- Belphegor The Mummy – The Louvre musuem is said to be haunted by Belphegor a mummy that is at the Louvre musuem. He is said to walk the halls of the museum.
- Jack the Skinner – In the 16th Century one of the hench men of Queen Catherine de Medicie, named Jean l’Ecorcheur earned himself the nickname of Jack the Skinner due to how many people he killed for the Queen Catherine. Eventually Queen Catherine had Jean l’Ecorcheur killed as she was afraid of him knowing too many of the family secrets. It is said Jean l’Ecorcheur has cursed the Royal Family who once lived in the halls of the Louvre and now walks and haunts those halls, He is known as the Red Man of Tuileries as he walks and roams this area of the museum.
The Louvre Glass Pyramids Were Added in 1989
The glass pyramids at the Louvre were added in 1989. Five glass pyramids used 95 tons of steel and 105 tons of aluminum to support this glass structure.
This is one of the unique parts of the Louvre and especially when you drive by the Louvre at nighttime as I have. You can see the lights in the pyramid against the ancient building; it is quite a magnificent sight to see.
The Louvre in Paris is a marvelous museum to visit. Not only does it have amazing collections and art like the Mona Lisa, but it also has one of the most extensive museum collections in the world. If you plan a trip to Paris, the Louvre is a museum worth seeing.
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