The Musee du Louvre or the Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world. It features over 35,000 works of art at a magnificent 650,000 square feet of gallery space. It remains the most visited attractions in Paris, with over 9.3 million visitors every year.
The timeless collections of the finest artistic creations and antiques from history that it hosts are the reasons for its immense popularity. Below are some of the incredible facts about this popular grand museum that you may find interesting.
The Largest Museum
With over 650,000 square feet of gallery space, the Louvre is currently the largest museum in the world. The museum totals up to 380,000 pieces of artwork placed across the entire gallery space. The sheer grandeur and lavish spaces of the museum makes it impossible for any visitor to cover its entire length in one day. The Louvre also has outside extensions that link it to the Musee National Eugene-Declaroix and the Tulleries Gardens.
The Louvre started out as a fortress, built in the year 1190. It underwent numerous transformations in the 16th century when it was converted into a palace. The most significant of such transformations however, took place in 1793, when the French Monarchy shifted to the palace of Versailles. This was the period when the museum first opened to the public and had a collection of just 537 paintings.
Leonardo da Vinci’s seminal masterpiece, Mona Lisa, is the most famous and sought over piece of art in the Louvre museum. Measuring just 21 x 30 inches, the painting is protected by armed guards and bulletproof glass. Her identity is however, a mystery even today, which continues to baffle historians and the public alike.
The French monarch Napoleon had a relationship with the Louvre. He has contributed in expanding the collections housed in the museum to over 50,000 pieces. They were unfortunately taken back to their original owners after the defeat of the monarch.
The galleries of Louvre measures about 652,300 square feet and hosts about 7500 paintings. The galleries are divided into eight departments with each of them specializing on different forms of art from various regions.
The Glass Pyramid
The architect I.M. Pei built the famous glass pyramid of the Louvre museum in 1981. Standing 21 meters high, this pyramid is as famous as the museum itself and remains one of the city’s most distinguishable landmarks.