The Louvre

History

The Louvre is literally in the middle of the city of Paris and one of the largest man-made structures in the world. It has stood as one of the many symbols of French culture for over eight hundred years. The architectural structure of The Louvre has lasted through the span of the transformational events such as the Third Crusade, the French Revolution, and the Second World War.

Prior to the Louvre being a museum, it was first a Medieval fortress (built in 1141) and later a royal palace. In reality only about two hundred of the eight hundred years of the Louvre’s existence has it served as predominantly an art museum. The Louvre was left as a place to display when Louis the fourteenth left it in 1682 for the Palace of Versailles. It was left as a place to display many of the royal collection. At this point, the museum was given to the Academy of France until the French Revolution. This was when the National Assembly opened The Louvre as a museum in 1793. At this point in time, it housed over 500 paintings.

Key Terms:

  • High Renaissance – A period of high art for about 35 years that centered in Rome, Italy. 
  • Mosaic – Artwork made from small pieces of materials. 
  • Tesserae – Small pieces of stone or glass that are used to make mosaics.
  • Leonardo da Vinci – A very famous Renaissance artist, famous for painting the Mona Lisa
  • Terracotta – A type of clay and pottery that was popular in ancient Greece and Rome. 
  • Neoclassicism – A Western cultural and artistic movement. ‘Neo’ is Greek for ‘new’
  • Baroque – A period of art, music, and architecture throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. This movement was closely associated with the Catholic Church. 
  • Renaissance Naturalism – Art painted during the Renaissance period that focused on painting characters with very realistic qualities. 
  • Nicolas Poussin – French Classical painter from the 17th century. 
  • Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson – French artist from the Romantic period.
  • Jacques-Louis David – A French Neoclassical painter from the 18th century.

Styles of Artwork

Today, the museum boasts over 35,000 pieces of paintings, sculptures, and antiques. Undeniably, the most famous and most sought after painting in The Louvre is “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci. However, this is only a small representation of the marvelously famous artwork, artistic styles and artists featured in The Louvre. The majority of the artwork is from the later centuries (16th through 18th)  and at one point it was the largest host of the actual painting and production of Western art than any other structure world-wide.

The Louvre 3
The Louvre 4

Romanticism, Classicism, and Neoclassicism are just a few of the lovely styles that line the walls of the Louvre. Additionally, the vast collection of art also includes Greek and Roman sculptures and antiques, Islamic artwork, and Egyptian antiques. This is a collection that spans the years of the sixth century B.C. to the 19th century.

Famous Artists

Some of the many famous artists that have paintings in The Louvre include Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolas Poussin,  Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson, and Jacques-Louis David. It is said that Nicolas Poussin (inventor of the genre of ideal landscape) started painting the ceiling in the gallery before giving up on the task.

Jacques-Louis David’s famous portrait of French Revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat, shows Marat as a martyred figure who never lost his dedication to the Revolution and its ideologies. This painting is featured in the salon of The Louvre.

You will need:

  1. Glue
  2. Scissors
  3. Cardstock and/or construction paper
  4. Fun decorative items like sequins, tiles, and faux stones

Works Cited:

  • Boundless. “Boundless Art History.” Lumen, https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-arthistory/chapter/the-baroque-period/. 
  • Gardner, James. The Louvre: The Many Lives of the World’s Most Famous Museum. Grove Press UK, 2021. 
  • “The High Renaissance.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/event/Renaissance/The-High-Renaissance. 
  • Lee, Timothy B. “40 Maps That Explain the Roman Empire.” Vox, Vox, 19 June 2018, https://www.vox.com/world/2018/6/19/17469176/roman-empire-maps-history-explained. 
  • “Louvre Museum – History and Facts.” Louvre Museum – Facts and History of Louvre, https://www.historyofmuseums.com/famous-museums/louvre-museum/. 
  • “Louvre Museum Official Website.” Le Louvre, https://www.louvre.fr/en. 
  • McCoy, Dr. Claire Black, and Dr. Claire Black McCoy. “Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii.” Smarthistory, https://smarthistory.org/jacques-louis-david-oath-of-the-horatii/. 
  • “Nicolas Poussin, 17th Century Classical Painter: Paintings & Life.” Nicolas Poussin, Peintre Classique Du 17e Siècle, https://www.nicolas-poussin.com/en/. 
  • “Nicolas Poussin, Peintre Classique Du 17E Siècle Au Louvre.” Nicolas Poussin, Peintre Classique Du 17e Siècle, https://www.nicolas-poussin.com/.
  • Oonops. “Mheu, Historical Museum of the Urban Environment.” The Death of Marat | Musée Historique De L’environnement Urbain, https://www.mheu.org/en/timeline/marat-dead-david.htm. 
  • Szalay, Jessie. “The Louvre Museum: Facts, Paintings & Tickets.” LiveScience, Purch, 2 May 2018, https://www.livescience.com/31935-louvre-museum.html. 
  • “What Is Mosaic?” VidaMosaics, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.vidamosaics.com/what-is-mosaic/.