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The most famous museum on the planet, the symbol of Paris, the pride of France… that’s right – it’s the Louvre.
And also… Imagine 22 soccer fields at once; fill this space with tens of thousands of sculptures, paintings, jewelry, ceramics and decor – in a word, everything that mankind has produced for the last 5 thousand years; imagine that every day two infantry divisions (25-30 thousand people) march through this area. So that’s the Louvre, too.
Why the Louvre is worth a visit
Nearly 10 million people a year come to the Louvre not only for the Mona Lisa and Venus of Milos. The museum offers 35,000 paintings, statues, frescoes, engravings, prints. And that’s just a small part: in all, the museum fund has a third of a million of them (the picture on average is exhibited for three months, and then sent to the reserve to avoid damage – the atmosphere in the public rooms harms the safety of paintings). If you are strong, hardy and ready to spend up to 10 hours for viewing each exhibit you will get no more than a second of your time. Hence the logical conclusion: you have to plan the tour in advance (and also give up the idea of seeing everything).
Of course, the trip to the Museum is not a polar expedition, but thorough preparation is still very desirable. And it begins with a choice of the goals.
In the Louvre’s exhibitions, the “chronological” and “national” principles are basically observed, there are numerous exceptions. The fact is that collections donated to the Louvre are exhibited in their entirety, out of respect for the donors. So don’t be surprised if you have to “catch” the pictures of your favorite artist one by one.
Here are the main sections of the museum:
- Ancient East (art and culture of Iran, Mesopotamia and Levant. In this collection is a stele with the laws of Hammurabi carved into it – the oldest monument to a legal state);
- Ancient Egypt (including the Hellenistic and Roman periods. For the world-famous sphinx – here);
- Ancient Greece and Rome (the Etruscan collection of monuments is also on display here – there is no counterpart in the world);
- The Art of Islam (a relatively new collection, opened to the public only in 2003);
- Sculptures (an almost immense collection of French and Italian statues, from the 6th century to the mid-19th century);
- Decorative and applied arts (tableware, furniture, tapestries, jewelry, and again sculptures – for example, the famous equestrian statue of Charlemagne);
- Graphic arts: drawings, engravings, prints… In a word, everything that was not painted in oil or watercolor on canvas (the most extensive collection of the museum);
- Paintings: in addition to the famous Gioconda there are four paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as paintings by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, El Greco, Goya, Delacroix and hundreds of others (about 6,000 exhibits in all).