Louvre, The

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Louvre, The


an architectural monument in Paris. Originally a royal palace, it later became a museum of art. It is now one of the most important art repositories in the world.

From the early 13th to the 14th century the Louvre was built on the former site of a castle. Between 1546 and 1574, P. Lescot built a new palace using Renaissance forms, which was embellished with the sculpture of J. Goujon. The Louvre was expanded by J. Lemercier, who built the west wing and part of the north wing (from 1624), L. Le Vau, who completed construction of the court (1661-64), and C. Perrault, who did the classical colonnaded east facade (1667-74). Beginning in 1661, C. Le Brun participated in the interior design and decoration (including the Galerie D’Apollon). The reconstruction and expansion of the Louvre, one of the most dominant architectural monuments in the historical center of Paris, continued into the 1850’s, when L. Visconti and H. Lefuel built the addition known as the New Louvre (subsequently a picture gallery).

In the second half of the 17th century the Louvre ceased to be a royal residence and was used primarily by the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. It also served as a repository for the royal art collections. In 1791, by a decree of the revolutionary Convention, the Louvre was converted into a national museum of art. It was opened to the public on Nov. 8, 1793. Its collections included former royal collections and the nationalized collections of various monasteries, churches, and prominent families. The collections were further augmented by works of art seized during Napoleon’s campaigns abroad, purchases from various countries, and numerous bequests. By the late 1960’s approximately 20,000 items were listed in the Louvre’s catalog of painting and sculpture.

The museum consists of six departments: Oriental antiquities, Greek and Roman antiquities, painting and drawing, sculpture (medieval, Renaissance, and modern), Egyptian antiquities, and decorative applied art. The collection of ancient Oriental art is one of the most important in the world. French art is particularly well represented in the Louvre, with works by L. Le Nain, N. Poussin, Philippe de Champagne, G. de La Tour, A. Watteau, L. David, E. Delacroix, G. Courbet, and other French masters. The picture gallery is one of the richest in the world.

The Louvre houses numerous world-famous art treasures, including the Victory of Samothrace (late fourth or second century B.C.), Venus of Milo (second century B.C.), Michelangelo’s statues of slaves, Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks and Mono Lisa, Raphael’s portrait of B. Castiglione, Giorgione’s Concert champetre, Titian’s The Man With the Glove, Veronese’s The Marriage at Cana, J. van Eyck’s Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, P. P. Rubens’ Helena Fourment and Her Children, and Rembrandt’s Bathsheba.

In 1931 a broad reorganization of the collections was undertaken, and some of the museum’s rooms were reconstructed. At present, exhibition halls at the Louvre are organized chronologically and according to national school. However, large private collections that have been donated to the museum are exhibited separately. The Museum of Impressionism (Jeu de Paume) is administratively subordinate to the Louvre. The Orangerie of the Tuileries, an exhibition hall that houses a permanent exhibit of C. Monet’s Water Lilies, is also part of the Louvre.


Kalitina, N. N. Muzei Parizha. Leningrad-Moscow, 1967.
Blum, A. Le Louvre: Du Palais au Musee. Geneva, 1946.
Bazin, G. Le Louvre. Paris, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Lastly, beyond the Louvre, the Faubourg Saint- Honoré, already considerable at that time, could be seen stretching away into the fields, and Petit-Bretagne gleaming green, and the Marché aux Pourceaux spreading abroad, in whose centre swelled the horrible apparatus used for boiling counterfeiters.
Hotel du Louvre is in the heart of the city's Palais-Royal district, surrounded by the Musee du Louvre, the Comedie-Francaise, the Palais Garnier and Palais Royal.
According to the Louvre, the exhibition aims to represent the result of more than 10 years of work and research around Leonardo's work: His paintings have been were scientifically reexamined and three of them restored.
Equally, the label "universal museum" is not just a press-release catchphrase for a curatorial vision but a specific term adopted at a 2002 conference in which nearly twenty museums, including the Louvre, the British Museum, the State Museums of Berlin, the Metropolitan, and the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, defended the relevance of their museum model against restitution claims.
The exhibition's scenography ingeniously recreates the outdoor lighting of the gardens at Versailles and the lavishness of the chateau's apartments, bringing to life the hustle and bustle of the artists' studios within the Louvre, the crowded fashion in which paintings were hung for the Salons, and the eclecticism of the MusAaAaAeA@e du Louvre's collections the 19th Century.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi museum will open at the end of 2016, and many of France's grand museums, including the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay and the Palace of Versailles, will loan art to Abu Dhabi as part of a 30-year collaboration with the emirate worth 1bn euros.
The Louvre, the world's most visited museum, is closed Wednesday because its workers have gone on strike.
The Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation -- Global is the principle donor of the Islamic Arts Hall at the Louvre, the most visited museum in the world.
Not to be outdone by the Louvre, the rival institution across the English Channel recently organized its own, more modest, Pisanello exhibition, publishing in conjunction not a catalogue but a book, Pisaneio: Painter to the Renaissance Court, written by Luke Syson and Dillian Gordon.
Wilmotte has had a hand in designing the new interior of the Richelieu wing of the Grand Louvre, the architect in charge being I.M.Pei.