Which great masterpieces are stored in the Louvre? How can you find them in such a huge palace? What should you definitely see if it’s your first visit to the museum?
The Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa or La Joconde by Leonardo da Vinci is undeniably the main exhibit of the Louvre. All the museum’s direction signs show you how to get to it. Japanese television has bought a whole hall of this former palace just for this masterpiece, the Mona Lisa itself is protected by thick armour, and is looked after by two guards. Crowds of tourists fill the room where it is exhibited. It’s worth remembering, you can’t see The Mona Lisa anywhere other than the Louvre. The administration of the museum has decided not to allow it out of the Louvre for display anywhere else. You will find the painting in Denon (one of the sections of the Louvre), the 7th chamber of the Italian paintings.
The Venus of Milo
Aphrodite or the Venus of Milo is no less famous than the previous lady. She is considered to be a creation of Agesander of Rhodes. The goddess is 164 cm tall, her vital statistics are 86-69-93. The Venus lost her arms after her discovery in 1820. There was a great argument between the French (who had found the sculpture) and the Turkish (who the island where it was found belonged to). This is why the sculpture has no arms. Aphrodite is in the Sully section, in the 16th chamber of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace
Another famous lady - Winged Victory of Samothrace or Nike. In contrast to the previous ‘grande dame’, the Goddess of war has lost not only her arms but also her head. But she has kept her sure step and wings, and – most importantly – the feeling of flight. You can find the sculpture on the first floor in Denon section, on the stairs in front of the entrance to the Italian paintings gallery and the Apollo chamber.
The next sculpture belongs to the Renaissance, it’s the Captive or the Dying Slave, sculpted by Michelangelo. Not David, of course, but it’s worth the same attention. It lives on the ground floor, Denon section, the 4th chamber of Italians sculptures. There you can also find Antonio Canova’s sculpture Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss.
The antiquities in the Louvre are far from over. The next masterpiece is – the statue of the sitting Ramesses II. The Egyptian Pharaoh is on the ground floor in the Sully section, Egyptian antiquities, chamber number 12. The museum has one of the largest collections of Egyptian antiquities in the world. For example, on the first floor in the Sully section you can find the famous sculpture of a sitting scribe. It is situated in Egyptian antiquities, chamber number 12.
The Code of Hammurabi
Besides Egyptian treasures, there are lots of Mesopotamian exhibits in the Louvre. The Code of Hammurabi is the most famous. It is the first written law code in the world. You can find it on the ground floor in the Richelieu wing, in the third chamber. In the next chambers you can see the famous Khorsabad Yard.
One of the best-known paintings – Sacre de l'empereur Napoléon 1er by Jacques-Louis David. No matter what you think of Napoleon, you should have a close look at this masterpiece. The painting is situated in the 75th chamber of French Art on the ground floor of the Denon section. There you’ll also find other magnificent works by another great French artist - Eugène Delacroix - including Liberty Leading the People and The Death of Marat.
A real masterpiece! The Lacemaker is one of the most famous paintings by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Overall, the Louvre has a small but very comprehensive collection of Dutch art. The second floor of the Richelieu gallery, 38th chamber, the Netherlands.
The Old Louvre
You can get to the fortifications of the Old Louvre through the Sully entrance, then go to the basement level. As we’ve already said, there used to be a Medieval Louvre. It was destroyed and the new one was built on its place. The remains of the old palace were found by archeologists and now they are exposed for tourists and everyone else to see. The destroyed palace is really worth seeing!
We just can’t help recommending that you visit the apartments of the last French emperor – Napoleon III. Being a monarch, he occupied several rooms in the former palace, and his private quarters are perfectly preserved. They occupy several chambers on the first floor in the Richelieu wing. Then you can go on to walk through the chambers where the Empire style interiors were reconstructed.
And as a final titbit. The Louvre is so huge and such a magnificent museum, that you can pass by some masterpieces and not even notice them. This happens especially with the masterpieces of Italian art, exhibited in the Mona Lisa’s chamber or near it. For example, opposite the Mona Lisa there is the stunning The Wedding at Cana by Veronese, on the both sides of that there are masterpieces by Tintoretto and Titian. Some of da Vinci’s paintings are displayed in the Gallery of Italian Art before you get to the Mona Lisa. There you can also find Madonna by Raphael and several paintings by Caravaggio.
Have a nice visit!
Enjoy your visit!