The Louvre!

Well trying to come up with a title for something that a word itself should say it all is difficult. So I stuck with one word, LOUVRE! It is THE museum of the world, the best and most beautiful and full of history.

I have come to love it even if lately been less by it. I am a friend of the Museum contributor.  My previous blog post on it is here: Louvre Museum

Enough of the tourist tidbits, I like the history of it, the place and the museum. So let me tell you a bit more of it here.

The Louvre Museum, inaugurated in 1793 under the name Central Museum of the Arts of the Republic in the Palais du Louvre, former royal residence located in the center of Paris, is today the largest museum of art and Antiques in the world.

Located in the 1éme arrondissement or district  of Paris, on the right bank between the Seine river  and the Rue de Rivoli, the museum is marked by the glass pyramid of its reception hall, erected in the Cour Napoléon and which became emblematic, while the equestrian statue of king Louis XIV is the starting point of the Parisian historical axis. This site is served by the metro station Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre on lines 1 and 7  as well as RATP bus lines  21, 27, 39, 48, 67, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95 , and the OpenTour bus. At the end of  2016, its collections included 554 731 works, of which 35 000 exhibited and 264 486 graphic works. These present Western art from the Middle Ages to 1848, that of ancient civilizations that preceded and influenced it  such as Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman, the arts of early Christians and Islam. The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world. It is the most visited paid cultural site in France.

Originally the Louvre existed as a  fortress, built by King Philip Augustus in 1190, and which occupied the southwest quarter of the present cour Carrée. With  the transfer of the property of the order of the Templiers to the order of the Hospitalieres, the royal treasure previously kept at The House of the Templiers of Paris is transported in 1317 to the Louvre. king Charles V makes the castle a royal residence. The big tower, which became obsolete, was destroyed by king François I in 1528. In 1546, the king began the transformation of the fortress into a residence; he brought down the western part of the medieval enclosure, which he had replaced by a Renaissance-style wing . This work continued under the reign of king Henry II and king Charles IX. The southern part of the enclosure of the “old Louvre” was in turn demolished to give way to a Renaissance wing. In 1594, king Henri IV decided to unite the Palais du Louvre to the Palais des Tuileries, built by Catherine de Medici in a great design  look for the whole structure, the first stage of which is the great gallery that joins the pavilion of Lesdiguieres (named in honor of François de Bonne, Baron De Champsaur, last Constable of France and first duke of Lesdiguieres) at the Pavillon de la Trémoïlle (in honor of Henri de la Trémoille ,  Field Marshal of the light cavalry of France. The Cour Carrée, under the reign of king Louis XIII and king Louis XIV was quadruple in size of the ancient court of the Renaissance, it necessitated the demolition of the remainder of the Medieval enclosure from king Charles V and his brothers Louis d’Anjou, King of Naples and Sicily, Jean, duke of Berry and Philippe le Hardi, duke of Burgundy , will develop a taste of luxury that lead them to make too many artists orders of illuminated books, fabrics and goldsmiths ‘ pieces. king Francis I was the first king of France to form a “painting cabinet”, i.e. a collection of easel paintings not related to the decoration of the royal mansions and which could be exhibited independently. Having succeeded in bringing Leonardo da Vinci to France in 1516, the king bought after the death of the latter on May 2, 1519 the paintings which he owned, to his executor Francesco Melzi.

The religious troubles that began to appear at the end of the reign of King Henry II will limit the purchases of works of art. This period is mainly marked by the construction of new castles and palaces, as the beginning of the transformation of the Château du Louvre into palaces. It is necessary to wait until the end of the wars of religion with king Henri IV to see the resumption of the purchase of paintings and the development of a second school of Fontainebleau. The king built the large gallery of the Palais du Louvre, linking the small gallery built by king Charles IX to the Palais des Tuileries, constructed by Catherine de Medici, and plans to house artists working for him. From the seizure of power by king Louis XIV in 1661, the enrichment of the Crown collection will become the object of special attention. The purchase of some of the works of art from Mazarin’s collection to his heirs was one of the first acts of king Louis XIV. In 1665, the collection was enriched with paintings purchased at the duke of Richelieu in 1671 and was created, within the royal collections, a special section devoted to drawings. This section is the ancestor of the department of Graphic Arts of the Louvre.

After the war of devolution during which the fighting took place in the Spanish Netherlands, Flemish painting is no longer considered an art inferior to the Italian art and the  taste will increase in the second half of the reign of king Louis XIV. The royal collections will then be enriched with Flemish works . King Louis XIV has constituted a collection of many vases in hard stones, gems, and bronzes. He enriched the collection of crown jewels. The surviving gems are exhibited today in the Apollo Gallery.

Paris

king Louis XV hardly increases the royal collections. king Louis XVI resumes purchases of paintings for the royal collections ,and it was during the reign of king Louis XIV that the idea of making the Palais du Louvre a deposit of works of art belonging to the Crown was born. Despite the departure of the king for the Palace of Versailles, in 1681, four hundred paintings continue to be preserved at the Palais du Louvre, in the salon of the dome and in the gallery of Apollo and the antiques with the casts sent by the residents of the Academy of France in Rome are deposited in the room of the Caryatids. Although owned by the king, the collections were visible to amateurs and artists who requested it. It all begins with a provisional exhibition of the most beautiful paintings of the royal Collection, which is held in the Royal Gallery of paintings installed at the Palais du Luxembourg from 1750 to 1779 and which is very successful.

The project is transformed into a law on July 27, 1793, and the inauguration initially planned on August 10, 1793 is finally held on November 8, 1793, the museum taking the name of the Central Museum of the Arts of the Republic. Treasures of churches disappear. The remains of the Treasure of the Holy Chapelle and the Treasure of Saint-Denis are recovered in 1791 to be deposited in the Cabinet of the medals of the King’s library. They are presented in 1793 at the new National Museum. The museum was first created as a place of training for the artists of the time, they were the only ones, until 1855, to be able to enter it during the week, the public is admitted, free of charge, only on Sundays.

From the consulate on November 9, 1802, the Louvre took the name of Musée Napoléon. From Napoleon I to Napoleon III, apart from the period of the Second Republic, the museum is part of the Sovereign’s civil list. Paris is occupied on March 31, 1814. Napoleon I abdicated on April 12th.

The Royal Museum of the Louvre is founded by the ordinance of July 22, 1816 in which king Louis XVIII took part. The closing of the French Museum of Monuments in 1816 will allow the Louvre to collect the most important pieces, except those returned or relocated to Saint-Denis. With sculptures coming from the Palace of Versailles, they opened in 1824 a museum of modern sculpture installed in five rooms in the gallery of Angoulême between the pavilion of the clock and the pavilion of Beauvais .

Other important changes were made to the Louvre during the reign of king Charles X. The great Cabinet of King Louis XIV becomes the jewelers room, in 1822. The precious objects of the Louvre museum are exhibited there.  Jean-François Champollion at the Égyptologique Museum in Turin where he will discover Egyptian art;  Champollion was appointed curator of the Egyptian and Oriental Monuments Division of the Charles-X Museum on May 15, 1826. This museum is created on the first floor of the south wing of the cour Carrée. It occupies a row of nine halls which were the former apartments of the ruling Queens, then the halls of the Academy of Architecture. The Charles X Museum is open on December 15, 1827.  In 1748, Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau, Inspector-General of the Navy, founder in 1741 of the Ecole de Marine de Paris for the boat-builder students, offered King Louis XV his collection of maritime models under the condition that it be accessible for specialists who might wish to see them at the Louvre where they were kept. It was then presented at the Louvre in a “Naval Hall”. This museum is created by the decision of King Charles X taken on December 27, 1827.

The bulk of the appropriations granted during the reign of Louis-Philippe I , king of the French were used for the works carried out at the Château de Versailles devoted to the glory of the great men of all times in August 1830, Louis-Philippe I dissolves the order of the Holy Spirit Founded by king Henri III on December 31, 1578. The Treasure of the order, which went through the revolution, is deposited in the Louvre.

The Second Republic will begin a movement to increase the Palais du Louvre with the resumption of the great design and the redevelopment of the museum by taking up the project presented in 1765 by Diderot which made the palace the “Palace of the People” devoted to the arts and Science. The aim was to set up an expanded museum, the National Library and rooms for industrial exhibitions.

The transformations continue under Napoleon III with the realization of the great design as  the North Gallery linking the Louvre to the Tuileries is completed by the addition of buildings. Others are also added to the south to ensure symmetry to this now gigantic architectural ensemble. The museum will gain from this transformation its entrance by the Denon Pavilion.

The museum under the Third République, the Communards had placed explosives in the cellars and sprinkled with oil the walls of the buildings of the new Louvre until the Pavillon de Marsan and the palace of the Tuileries which were ignited and destroyed.  Rebuild the Pavillon de Marsan with the wing of the new Louvre along the Rue de Rivoli, which doubles the width between 1873 and 1875, which is then destined for the Court of Auditors.  The northern facade of the pavilion of Flora is rebuilt.  The Palais des Tuileries will never be rebuilt, and after several years of deliberation, the ruins will finally be demolished in 1882.  With an ongoing group trying to rebuilt as identical for several years now, more info here: Palais des Tuileries

1895 creates the meeting of national Museums, which is an organization with a civil and moral personality, with an autonomous fund, the Caisse des Musées nationales, managed by a board of directors. The Caisse des Musées nationales receives an allocation from the state and has own resources, entrance fees, legacies, sales of objects. To alleviate this lack of funds and to allow the purchase of works of art by the Louvre Museum, the Society of Friends of the Louvre was created in 1897. An important part of the enrichment of the collection of paintings of the modern French school comes from the transfer to the Louvre Museum of paintings located at the Luxembourg Museum. The national furniture is the heir to the Crown storage. The Louvre then possessed few movable objects of art after the Renaissance. It was after 1871 that the most precious furniture of the Palais des Tuileries and the Château de Saint-Cloud, which had been evacuated before their fires, was deposited in the Louvre museum.

From 1 August 1914 the government decided to close the Louvre museum. One month after the armistice was signed in Rethondes, the works returned to the museum. On January 16, 1920, the opening of the Louvre concerned the gallery of Apollo, the saloon, part of the Grand Galerie, the Salle of Châtel, the gallery of the seven meters, the hall of the French primitives and the collection Isaac de Camondo. The state Hall presenting the nineteenth-century French paintings is reopened on 10 May 1921La the First World War did not cause any damage to the museum.

During the Second World War, the museum’s masterpieces were evacuated according to a plan conceived from 1938 by the Director of National Museums of the time, Jacques Jaujard, who relied on a list drawn up since 1936 listing the works present in the Various museums in France and various possible storage areas the German authorities are reopening the museum on 29 September 1940, the entrance is free for the Nazis who are disappointed because the main masterpieces were evacuated (the walls of the first floor are Thus empty), the sculptures descended into the basement. Despite the German injunctions, no masterpiece is brought back the Louvre museum finds him, after a reverse voyage, almost all of his masterpieces thanks to the artistic recovery Commission (CRA), which also includes Rose Valland, Jacques Jaujard and René Huyghe

There are annex of the Louvre doing very well at the Louvre-Lens in the Nord dept 59 and then a more recent one the  Louvre Abu Dhabi..

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is a must while in Paris or France for that matter are

Official Louvre Museum webpage : https://www.louvre.fr/en/homepage

Boutique store of the Louvre Museum: https://www.boutiquesdemusees.fr/en/shop/museum/musee-du-louvre/

Tourist office of Paris on the Louvre: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71065/Musee-du-Louvre

There you go on the history I like. A wonderful gorgeous immense place an absolut must to visit and with time to see it all.

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

One Comment to “The Louvre!”

  1. On my bucket list, very high up, like Notre Dame!

    Liked by 1 person

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