The most famous art gallery in the world
It attracts millions of tourists every year, has a long and turbulent history, its collections include works by the greatest artists, and it is located in the historical center of the French capital. I guess everyone already knows which gallery I’m talking about? Of course, about the Louvre. The art the museum houses transcends borders, traditions and cultures. She is admired regardless of her origin, skin color, religion and values. The Louvre’s masterpieces include works by artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Here you will also encounter amazing works from before our era by unknown artists. The most famous art gallery in the world attracted nearly 8 million people in 2022. Compared to 2021, this is an increase of 120%.
Currently, the Louvre is not only a space encompassing the palace of the French monarchs, but also an unprecedented ‘branch’ in the United Arab Emirates. What secrets does the Louvre hide?
The most famous art gallery in the world – the beginning
The gallery in the Louvre is eight centuries old – Philip II Augustus began a long history. At the end of the 12th century, a fortress was built, whose characteristic feature were very thick defensive walls. The time of wars and constant conflicts forced the construction of specific buildings. In the second half of the 14th century, the Louvre became the palace of the French monarchs. Over the next decades, he changed those in power, and they adapted him to the prevailing fashion and changing conditions.
The gallery was established at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, during the reign of Henry IV. At the end of the 17th century, the Louvre ceased to be the residence of monarchs and began to be a museum. Versailles became the seat of the monarchs – it was recently opened there luxury hotel.
The Muséum Central des Arts was established in the Louvre. Over the decades, the Louvre grew and expanded its collection of works of art.
The most famous art gallery in the world underwent a major renovation at the end of the last century and all the buildings are now used for exhibition purposes. Previously, the Richelieu wing belonged to the French Ministry of Finance.
Currently the museum has over 33,000 items in its collection. works, employs nearly 2,300 employees, lends over 3,000 works of art to other institutions each year and organizes approximately 10 temporary exhibitions each year.
The Louvre in numbers
What is impressive is not only the number of visitors to the Louvre, but also the area in which the museum is located. There are 403 rooms in the palace, which together with the corridors cover an area of 14.5 km. When communism was falling in Poland, the Louvre was undergoing another expansion, and a pyramid was built, hailed as a modern masterpiece of the 20th century. It is over 21 meters high and weighs approximately 180 tons. This dome is the heart of the Louvre, which is why the paths to visit specific wings of the palace branch off from it.
Just over a decade ago, in 2012, the Louvre opened the Department of Islamic Art, and in 2022 the Department of Byzantine and Eastern Christian Art. Apart from that the Louvre museum has expanded its activities to other areas of France and the world. Currently manages the Louvre-Lens museum, which is located in northern France (in Lens). Works belonging to the Louvre are exhibited there. This is the place to which the Louvre lends the most works of all the institutions it cooperates with. Since its opening, it has been the second most popular museum in France, apart from those in Paris.
The most famous gallery art in the world also manages the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, which were created in the artist’s apartment. In 2017, under the agreement concluded between France and the United Arab Emirates another ‘Louvre’ was built in Abu Dhabi. It is characterized by a modern structure, located on the water, on an artificial island. Here you can admire works loaned by the Louvre and other French museums.
Universal art gallery
The Louvre impresses in many respects, including the richness of its collections and the most valuable artistic works. His collections include the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, Italian frescoes by Sandro Botticelli, Venus de Milo (authorship is not certain), and The Rebel Captive by Michelangelo.
The Louvre’s collections transcend one culture, nation and religion. That’s why the most famous art gallery in the world is also considered one of the most universal. The Louvre’s collections are divided into sections:
- ancient egypt art,
- Middle Eastern art,
- art of ancient Greece, Rome, Etruria,
- Islamic art,
- artistic crafts,
- drawing and graphics.
In the Louvre you will encounter, among others, ancient world, medieval painting, Renaissance, baroque, romanticism and contemporary art. This gallery houses the largest and most valuable works, including the oldest ones. Fragments of the temple of Zeus from the 4th century BC, a figurine from Mycenae dating back to the 8th century BC, a bust of Emperor Octavian Augustus from the 1st century AD. And among the works of painters, you will find paintings by artists such as: Rembrandt, Titian, Rafael Santi, El Greco.
There are also a few Polish accents in the Louvre, after all, we also have great artists. This is among others sculpture from Maria Leszczyńska, and in 2019, an exhibition of works by Polish painters working in the 19th century was held in Lens.
Interesting facts about the most famous art gallery in the world
Is the Louvre haunted? According to some, yes, so it is worth looking not only at works of art. Supposedly, the ghost of a butcher called Jack Skinner lives here – according to legends, he was treated badly by the royal family. The mummy Belphegor wanders the corridors, and an unknown woman dressed in red walks in the gardens. Of course, the ghosts are friendly towards tourists.
Napoleon and changes in the Louvre
During Napoleon’s reign, the museum was quickly filled with loot from all over the world, paintings, figures, sculptures, but after the fall of the emperor, several thousand works returned to their owners. Napoleon also changed the name of the museum, replacing the Louvre with his name.
Mona Lisa is not within your reach
Mona Lisa is under special surveillance. It was covered with barricades so that you couldn’t get too close to it. Plus, it’s behind glass. Another interesting fact is that it is not as big as it may seem, which surprises some visitors.
True treasures of the Louvre
In the Louvre, you will “come face to face with a mummy”, following in the footsteps of the ancient Egyptians. You will also see what the kings ate and drank from, thanks to the collection of royal vessels. You will see with your own eyes how the monarchs lived and what they surrounded themselves with. The splendor of the rooms and the splendor make a huge impression, and the whole is complemented by paintings and bas-reliefs. Currently, unfortunately, Napoleon’s chambers are closed to visitors until May 2024. After this date, it is worth going on a trip to travel back in time for a moment.
How long does it take to visit the Louvre?
Statistically, the Louvre is visited by 15,000 people a day. people and there are no crowds. Tickets are on sale online. On your first visit, there is no chance to explore and see everything. In fact, even a month is not enough, because according to calculations, if you devote 30 seconds to each work, you need 100 days without sleep and breaks for eating.
The most famous art gallery in the world is also the largest and most frequently visited. When going to the Louvre, it is worth planning a walk around the palace, because lack of a plan may result in a chaotic visit and missing the most important works.