fortress built by King Philippe Auguste (1190), the palace of
the kings of France, and a museum for the last two centuries,
the architecture of the Louvre Palace bears witness to more than
800 years of history.
François Ier had the "grosse
tour" destroyed, and decided in 1546 to transform the former
fortress into a luxury residence. The work, which was supervised
by Pierre Lescot, continued under Henri II and Charles IX, involved
two new wings which occupy two sides of the former fortress.
Jean Goujon decorated the façade and the great hall of
this Renaissance wing.
west, in a place known as the Tuileries, Catherine de Médicis
had a huge palace built, which she left incomplete. As soon as
he arrived in Paris in 1594, Henri IV decided to join the Louvre
with the Tuileries to form a gigantic palace. This was the "Grand
Dessein" or Grand Design, of which he had the first stage
completed, the Grande Galerie.
Louis XIII and Louis XIV, the architects Le Mercier and subsequently
Le Vau built the "Cour Carrée", four times the
size of the former Renaissance courtyard. To the East, facing
the city, a committee of architects, led by Perrault, planned
the "colonnade". Poussin, Romanelli and Le Brun decorated
the apartments and the "galeries". But this golden
age enjoyed by the Louvre came to an abrupt end in 1678, when
Louis XIV chose Versailles as his centre of power. The double
palace remained incomplete for a long time. During the entire
18th century, new projects contributed to the "Grand Dessein"
of the Bourbons.
in 1793 by the French Republic, the Louvre Museum, in the company
of the Ashmolean Museum (1683), the Dresden Museum (1744) and
the Vatican Museum (1784) is one of the earliest European museums
and one of the largest in the world.
presents 30,000 works of art divided into seven main collections,
including both Antiquity and Westerns Art, from the Middle Ages
to the first part of the 19th century. Several temporary exhibition
areas and a section dedicated to the history of the Louvre complete
the permanent display of the museum.
present the history and architectural development of the Louvre
palace in chronological order, from the fortress built by Philippe
Auguste in about 1190 in Lupara (later to become the Louvre)
to recent works of the "Grand Louvre" project.
stage of the project was finished in 1989 (opening of the new
access via the glass pyramid designed by the Sino-American architect
Ieoh Ming Pei and discovery of the vestiges of the medieval Louvre).
Pei was responsible for the first major part of the modernization
concept of the museum. His project, involving the construction
of a huge pyramid in the center of the cour Napoléon,
was exhibited at the palais de l'Elysée in 1983, where
it caused considerable controversy. A lifesized simulation was
planned and executed in 1985 and the project was given final
is surrounded by fountains and marks the entrance to the new
museum. The Hall Napoléon is the name used to denote the
space beneath the Pyramid which is now the official entrance
to the Louvre.
has three wings: Sully, Denon and Richelieu. These wings are
respectively to the west, south, and north of the Pyramid. Each
of the wings has 3 stories (i.e. ground, first, and second).
There is also an `Entresol' - below ground - level.
left you can see: the Richelieu Wing to the left of the Pyramid,
the Denon Wing to the right and the Sully Wing in the middle
of the two and the pyramid in front of it.
collections are distributed into 7 departments: Oriental Antiquities
Arts of Islam, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman
Antiquities; Sculptures, Objets d'Art, Paintings and Prints and
works such as the Liberty Leading the People, 1830, by Eugène
Delacroix, the Mona Lisa, 1503-1506, by Leonardo da Vinci and
the Venus de Milo among many others can be found in the Louvre.
and the pyramid with the fountains. Unfortunately, the large
glass pyramid partially covers the view of the the Sully Wing.
This pyramid was very controversial during its construction.
In my opinion, the pyramid is nice, but it destroyed the beautiful
view of the palace.
separating the northern and southern parts of the city, the building
constitutes the point of departure of the great East-West view,
which crosses the Arc du Carrousel, the obelisk in the Place
de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysées,
and extends right out to the new Arche de la Défense.
arches conceived by Napoleon, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and
the Arc de Triomphe at Etoile, were erected to commemorate his
victories, and the grand armies he had commanded. The bronze
horses on top of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel were taken
from Saint-Marc of Venice. These were later returned after second
de Triomphe du Carrousel is decorated in rose marble on the columns
and the front paneling. It is composed of three arches: a big
one and two little ones. While the principal structure is 63
feet high, 75 feet wide, and 24 feet deep, the ceiling of the
big arch is 21 feet high and 9 feet wide, and the two small arches
are each 14 feet, 16 inches high and 9 feet wide.