This medieval fortress was demolished in 1546 by Francis I, a great art collector, who also started construction on the Louvre, another royal house that practically every French ruler after him added to. Only a small fraction of the current Louvre, designed by Pierre Lescot, was finished during the reign of Francis I. Currently, the Cour Carrée’s southwest corner comprises this original piece.
Louis XIII and Louis XIV significantly expanded the architectural complex in the 17th century. Louis XIII’s top minister, Cardinal de Richelieu, bought priceless pieces of art for the monarch. Outstanding art collections were purchased by Louis XIV and his minister, Cardinal Mazarin, including that of Charles I of England. The Colonnade section of the Louvre was designed by a group that included the architects Claude Perrault and Louis Le Vau, as well as the designer and painter Charles Le Brun.
TOP 8 Collections of Louvre Museum
One of the most significant art museums in the world is the Louvre in Paris. The Musée du Louvre is home to 615,797 pieces of art, 482,943 currently online and 35,000 on display in eight curatorial divisions.
- Egyptian antiquities
- Prints and drawings
- Near Eastern antiquities
- Decorative arts
- Greek, Etruscan, and Roman
- Islamic art
Works made before 1850 that don’t belong in the Etruscan, Greek, or Roman category are found in the sculpture department. Since it was a palace, the Louvre has housed sculptures, but, until 1824, it only featured historic architecture, with the exception of Michelangelo’s The Dying Slave and The Rebellious Slave.
At first, there were just 100 items in the collection; the rest of the royal sculptures were kept at Versailles. It remained modest until Léon Laborde was assigned command of the division in 1847. King Childebert and stanga door, the first such statues and sculptures in the collection, were acquired by Laborde for the medieval division.
The collection was formerly a part of the Department of Antiquities, but Louis Courajod, the director who created a larger representation of French works, gave it autonomy in 1871. All pieces created after 1850 were transferred to the brand-new Musée d’Orsay in 1986. The French collection is on display in the Richelieu Wing of the Grand Louvre project, while international artwork is on view in the Denon Wing.
The section contains about 50,000 items, of which 74 items are from Nile civilizations between 4,000 BC and the fourth century AD. The collection, which is among the biggest in the world, provides a comprehensive look at Egyptian life throughout Ancient Egypt, the New Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, Coptic art, and the Roman, Ptolemaic, and Byzantine periods.
The Great Sphinx of Tanis stands to watch over the collection, which is kept in more than 20 chambers. Papyrus scrolls, mummies, tools, clothes, jewelry, games, musical instruments, and weaponry are among the items in the collection. : 76-77  The Seated Scribe, the Head of King Djedefre, and the Gebel el-Arak Knife from 3400 BC are examples of ancient artifacts.
The sections on the New Kingdom and Coptic Egypt are extensive, but the statue of the goddess Nephthys and the limestone carving of the goddess Hathor show the sentiment and riches of the New Kingdom.
Prints and drawings
Paper-based creations are included in the prints and drawings category. The 8,600 pieces in the Royal Collection (Cabinet du Roi) served as the collection’s starting point, and it was expanded through governmental appropriations, purchases like the 1,200 pieces from Fillipo Baldinucci’s collection in 1806, and donations. The Galerie d’Apollon featured 415 pieces when the department first opened its doors on August 5th, 1797.
The Cabinet du Roi, 14,000 royal copper printing plates, and the Edmond de Rothschild contributions, which contain 40,000 prints, 3,000 drawings, and 5,000 illustrated volumes, make up the collection’s three main divisions. Due of the fragility of the paper medium, only a percentage of the holdings are ever displayed in the Pavillon de Flore.
Near Eastern antiquities
The second-oldest section, Near Eastern antiquities, was established in 1881 and provided an overview of the “initial settlements” and early Near Eastern culture that existed before Islam. The Levant, Mesopotamia (Iraq), and Persia make up the department’s three geographical divisions (Iran). The growth of the collection follows archaeological investigations like Paul-Émile Botta’s expedition to Khorsabad in 1843 and the discovery of Sargon II’s palace. : 119 These artifacts served as the foundation for the Assyrian Museum, which served as the department’s forerunner.
The museum houses artifacts from Sumer and the city of Akkad, including monuments like the Stele of the Vultures, built in 2450 BC by the Prince of Lagash, and the stele built by King Naram-Sin of Akkad to commemorate a victory over barbarians in the Zagros Mountains.
The ancient Levant is a significant focus of the department, notably the 1855 discovery of the Eshmunazar II sarcophagus, which inspired Ernest Renan to launch the Mission de Phénicie in 1860. One of the largest and most complete collections of Canaanite and Aramaic inscriptions can be found there. Given the significant French involvement in the area in the 19th century, the section includes covers North African Punic antiquities (Punic = Western Phoenician), with early discoveries including the 1843 discovery of the Ain Nechma inscriptions.
The Persian Archers of Darius I and the Funerary Head are two examples of ancient Persian art that may be found in the Louvre’s Persian section. This section also includes priceless Persepolis artifacts that were given to the British Museum in 2005 for their Ancient Persia display.
The Middle Ages through the middle of the 19th century are covered by the Objets d’art collection. According to royal property and the transfer of artwork from the Basilique Saint-Denis, the French kings’ burial place, which housed the Coronation Sword of the Kings of France, the department was once a subdivision of the sculpture department.
Vases and bronzes made of pietre dure were among the most treasured pieces in the fledgling collection. “Ceramics, enamels, and stained glass” were added to the Durand collection in 1825, and 800 pieces were donated by Pierre Révoil.
With the rise of Romanticism, interest in Renaissance and Medieval art was once again piqued, and the Sauvageot contribution added 1,500 middle-age and faience pieces to the collection. Gold jewelry and maiolicas, mostly from the 15th century, were added to the Campana collection in 1862.
With the rise of Romanticism, interest in Renaissance and Medieval art was once again piqued, and the Sauvageot contribution added 1,500 middle-age and faience pieces to the collection. The Campana collection expanded in 1862 to include maiolicas and gold jewelry, mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Greek, Etruscan, and Roman
Items from the Mediterranean Basin dating from the Neolithic to the Sixth Century are on show in the Greek, Etruscan, and Roman department. The collection covers a wide time period, from the Cycladic era until the fall of the Roman Empire. One of the earliest sections of the museum, it started with usurped royal art, some of which was obtained during Francis I’s reign. The Venus de Milo and other marble statues were the collection’s first emphasis. Although works like the Apollo Belvedere arrived during the Napoleonic Wars, they were returned following the overthrow of Napoleon I in 1815. Vases from the Durand collection and bronzes from the Bibliothèque nationale, including the Borghese Vase, were acquired by the Louvre in the 19th century.
One of the richest painting collections in the world, the Louvre’s collection spans the entire history European Revolutions of 1848 art. After the Musée d’Orsay opened in 1986, the Louvre’s collection of works created after that time was moved there. The Louvre is home to the largest collection of French paintings from the 15th to the 19th century.
It also houses numerous masterpieces by Italian Renaissance painters, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (ca. 1503–19), as well as Baroque paintings by Flemish and Dutch artists.
The newest collection in the museum, the Islamic art collection, “covers thirteen centuries and three continents.” More than 5,000 pieces and 1,000 fragments are included in these exhibitions of ceramics, glass, metalware, wood, ivory, carpet, textiles, and miniatures. The properties, which were formerly a part of the decorative arts division, were separated in 2003.
The collection includes a Syrian metalwork known as the Barberini Vase as well as three chapters from Ferdowsi’s epic Persian poem collection, the Shahnameh. 3,000 objects from the 7th to the 19th centuries that were amassed from Spain to India via the Arabian Peninsula are on display in the new department.