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The Louvre Museum in Paris

The Musée du Louvre or officially the Grand Louvre (in English : the Louvre Museum, the Great Louvre, or simply the Louvre) is the French national museum. It is the most visited museum in the world, averaging 15,000 visitors a day, and is classified as a historical monument.

Musée_du_Louvre_Paris_France

Musée_du_Louvre_Paris

It is a central landmark of Paris, located on the right bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (1st district). Nearly 35,000 objects from the 6th century BC to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet).

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre), which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are still visible. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1672, king Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of antique sculptures. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which held in 1699 the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution (1789-1799), the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum in order to display the nation’s masterpieces.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings and 184 objects of art. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon when the museum was renamed the Musée Napoléon. After his defeat at Waterloo, many works seized by Napoleon’s armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic, except during the two World Wars. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; and Prints and Drawings.

French Revolution (1789-1799)

During the French Revolution, the Louvre was transformed into a public museum. In May 1791, the Assembly declared that the Louvre would be, “a place for bringing together monuments of all the sciences and arts”. On 10 August 1792, Louis XVI was imprisoned and the royal collection in the Louvre became national property. Because of fear of vandalism or theft, on 19 August, the National Assembly pronounced the museum’s preparation as urgent. In October, a committee to “preserve the national memory” began assembling the collection for display.

For more information about the city of Paris, click on the following link:

http://arras-france.com/the-city-of-paris-northern-france/

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