The Louvre Museum is actually known officially as the Grand Louvre and this is one of the biggest museums anywhere in the world. This museum is one of the most visited museums anywhere in the world and it is also a historical monument.
The Louvre Museum is one of the central landmarks within the city of Paris and it is located on the right bank of the Seine River within the district that is known as the 1st arrondissement. This very popular museum contains more than thirty five thousand objects, which date back to between the prehistoric times and the nineteenth century. The displays within this museum cover an area of about sixty thousand six hundred square meters.
The Louvre Palace
The Louvre Museum is housed within the Louvre Palace and this palace first began life as a fortress. This palace was built during the twelfth century whilst under the reign of Philip II. There are still remains of the old fortress, which are still visible nowadays. The original building was extended many times in order to form the famous structure that is known nowadays as the Louvre Palace. During 1682 Louis XIV decided that the Palace of Versailles would be his home and he left the Louvre Palace to be used primarily as a location for displaying his royal collection.
The royal collection featured a range of items and these date back to between 1692 and 1699. The items that were in the collection and dating back to 1692 were a collection of sculptures. From 1699 the collection included a series of salons. During the middle part of the eighteenth century there was an increased number of proposals that were made for creating a public gallery. During 1747 there was a call to create a display of royal collectables.
History of the museum
The Louvre Museum first opened its doors on the tenth of August 1793 and when it first opened it had a collection of five hundred and thirty seven (537) paintings. Most of the original paintings that were housed in the museum were paintings that were done by the royals and others were confiscated church property. There were structural problems in the original building and this led to the museum being closed between 1796 and 1801.
The size of collection within this museum was dramatically increased under the power of Napoleon and this led to the museum being called Musee Napoleon. Following Napoleon being defeated at Waterloo a lot of the work that was seized by the armies was returned to their original owners. The collection within the museum was further extended by Louis XVII and Charles X and also during the time of the Second French Empire. During this time the museum gained a further twenty thousand pieces of art. Since the Third Republic the museum gained a lot of further donations apart from during the first and second world wars.
The departments and collections of the Louvre Museum
During 2008 the collection within the museum was split into eight different departments. Nowadays the 8 departments within the louvre museum include :
- Egyptian antiquities,
- Roman antiquities,
- Near eastern antiquities,
- Islamic art,
- Decorative art
- Paintings, drawings and prints.
The structure that is known as the Louvre Pyramid is a big structure that is constructed from glass and metal. This big structure is surrounded by three similar structures, which are smaller in size and this is all contained within a courtyard, which is part of the Louvre Palace within the city of Paris. The biggest pyramid is used as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum and it was completed during 1989. Since this landmark was developed it has become one of the main features within the city of Paris.
Construction of Louvre Pyramid
During 1984 Francois Mitterrand who was the President of France commissioned this structure and the architect who is known as I.M.Pei designed it. This architect also designed the Miho Museum, which is located within Japan, the Palace Ville-Marie that is located within Montreal and also the National gallery of Art which is located within Washington.
This structure was constructed using mainly glass segments and it has a height of about seventy feet. The structure has a square base and the sides are about one hundred and fifteen feet in height. The structure contains about six hundred and three glass segments that are rhombus shaped and about seventy glass segments that are triangular in shape. The company known as Nicolet Chartrand Knoll Ltd engineered the pyramid structure. This company was based in Montreal.
The construction of this pyramid structure created a lot of controversy, as there were a lot of people that felt that the futuristic appearance looked out of place at the front of the Louvre buildings as the main buildings feature classical architecture. There were certain decorators that described the structure as being a Pharaonic complex.
The underground lobby
The underground lobby and the pyramid were constructed due to the serious problems that were being experienced at the main entrance to the Louvre as it was no longer able to handle the problems that it was experiencing due to the vast number of visitors that were coming to this area on a daily basis. The visitors that were coming to the pyramid went down into the lobby and then came back up to the main part of the Louvre buildings. There are a lot of other museums which have used a similar idea and one of the most famous museums that has done this is the museum of Science and Industry that is located in Chicago.
The louvre at the cinema
The Louvre buildings and the pyramid are seen as being destroyed in the opening scenes of a film during 2004 and this film was known as Team America: World Police. These structures were also featured in a film during 2006, which was known as the Da Vinci Code. The crews that worked on these films were allowed to go inside the Louvre in order to film part of the film. Some of the scenes that were featured in this 2006 film actually showed that it was filmed in the Louvre and a lot of the main scenes were filmed in the main area of the museum.