The Louvre: A History


The Louvre: Paintings, Sculptures, and Art, Oh My!

I now know why the Louvre is always at the top of everyone's lists when they visit France. You're bound to find at least one piece of art that you like in the place. And let me just say this: the amount of art is overwhelming! I thought the Uffizi Gallery in Florence had too much, but that was just pre-gaming for the real deal. So why exactly do we have the Louvre? And how did it become so big? Here is a little bit of history on this maze filled with some of the greatest masterpieces on the planet.

It was a fortress

In its previous life, the palace was a fortress from the 12th Century. You can tour its remnants in the basement. It has been altered significantly throughout history, each king adding on new features or improving or expanding it.

One of my favorite paintings
Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix

An art collection fit for a king

It was Charles V that made it a residence and Francois I that collected the art. When Louis XIV used Versailles as his main palace, the Louvre opened to showcase the royal collection. It still was not considered a museum, but the collection was no longer just for the king's eyes.

You can thank the French Revolution

During the French Revolution, the Assembly declared that the Louvre would be open to the public. After the death of Louis XVI, his collection became national property and would be displayed in the museum. So in 1793, the museum opened. It had a rough start with a few closures in the beginning, but under Napoleon, things began to run smoothly.

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

Art has been acquired through donations

With its popularity, the Louvre has received many of its works of art through donations or gifts. It started out as a royal art collection, but has since expanded and has received donations from all around the world.

It took precautions during World War II

Before Germany even entered France, the Mona Lisa was moved into hiding. Many other works of art joined the famous portrait. But not all were able to make the journey. Some stayed on display during the war. After the war, the artwork was moved back.

The Pyramid was built as a renovation

Under the French president Francois Mitterand, the Louvre was renovated. In this renovation, the pyramid was built along with the new entrance to the building. The project was completed in 1993 and has since seen a double in admissions into the museum.

pre-order, pre-order, pre-order. This museum is always busy! If you can, buy tickets in advance. If you are an EU citizen under 25, no tickets are necessary, just show your passport at the entrance.

You Might Also Like


Comments? Questions? Advice? Let me know: