Louvre Museum: 20 Must-See Masterpieces

After months promising the “Fast but Lazy: Museum Edition“, finally I decided to carry on with the series. I love museums, they are super interesting etc, but let’s be honest, they can be very tiring sometimes, I really don’t know what it is, if it is because they are too big, or because it’s too much information or even because their atmosphere can be a bit heavy, plus they can take alot of time to visit and sometimes we unfortunately don’t have all this time to enjoy them.

This week, the series will cover Louvre Museum in Paris and the must see Louvre masterpieces and their location in the museum.

Of course, if you are able to, I do recommend you to visit museums fully, as maybe there is one piece that is not listed as the most famous one but they end up catching your attention, or sometimes they are more interesting for you than other more famous masterpiece but if you don’t have much patience or time to visit piece by piece, room by room, don’t worry, I just broke down easy visits for you! They will cover the most important parts of each museum, and many masterpieces that you probably already saw on books before, so you can go straight to the point, it will save you time without compromising your visit.

Louvre Museum Paris

The Louvre Museum is the biggest museum in the world. It is is the house of 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art. Now imagine, to visit it completely, you would probably need two days to see it all! With this list it will still take great part of a day, thats why I do not recommed to visit the Louvre if you only have 3 days in the city.

Louvre Museum is locates in the 1st arrondissement, a very central area of Paris and can be easily access by bus or metro. The main entrance is located in the Pyramid and the line to get in can be pretty long specially in high seasons, so try to arrive the earliest you can. The best to do is to arrive before the museum opens, so you are one of the first ones to get inside.

The museum is opened from 9h to 18h, on Wednesday and Friday it is opened until 21:45h, during Tuesdays it is closed.

The building was originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II, it was extended many time before assuming the form we have today. The royal family used to live there until 1682, when Louis XIV decided to move to the Palace of Versailles. The building was turned into a museum in 1793 and now divided in eight curatorial departments. There are five floors to visit, so be prepared!

Louvre Masterpieces

Ground Floor

Louvre Museum

Law Code of Hammurabi (Room 3 – Richelieu wing)

A Babylonian law code carved in stone, dated back to 1754 BC One of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. It is made of 282 laws and includes its punishments as well. The laws were based in the Law of Talion, “eye for an eye, teeth for a teeth”.

Louvre Museum

Winged Human-Headed Bulls(Room 4 – Richelieu wing)

Ok this is one of my favorite pieces of the whole museum, this huge bulls represent Lamassus an Assyrian god, they used to guard the entrance of temples and palaces.

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Louvre Museum

Salle Philippe Pot Tomb (Room 10 -Richelieu wing)

This tomb is so full of details! Take your time to look at the faces of the mourners. The realism in this statue is impressive and, the position of the mourners gives a sense moviment, looking like they are walking in the slow pace of a funeral procession. At Phillippe Pot’s feet lays an animal, that accordingly to Louvre is supposed to be a lion, but accordingly to me, it is a dog, you choose who you trust better.

Louvre Museum

Venus de Milo (Room 7 – Sully wing)

The statue that possibly represents Aphrodite was discovered in the Island of Melos, hence the name, and her arms was already missing, various positions were already suggested but the right one is still a mistery. Initially the statues was adorned with metal jewelry.

Louvre Museum

Dying Slave e Rebellious Slave – Michelangelo (Room 4 – Denon wing)

It wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t put Michelangelo in this list! These two pieces is one next to the other. Both statues were made for the funeral of a pope.

Louvre Museum

Winged Victory (Staircase – Denon wing)

Discovered in 1863 island of Samothrace and sent to Paris in the same year, the meaning behind this statue is still a mystery. Some believe it was erected by a Macedonian general after a naval victory. Its author is unknown.

First Floor

Louvre Museum

Virgin of the Rocks – Leonardo da Vinci (Room 5 – Denon wing)

Those who read the the Da Vinci Code will recognize this painting. There are two versions of it, this one in exhibition in Louvre, the other is in the National Gallery in London. The Louvre version as the first one made by Leonardo, but it was not accept by his client as the scene seemed a bit threatening. So the second one was made. It is located close to the Monalisa, and next to others of his paintings but it is way less crowded so you can appreciate his art better.

Louvre Museum

Monalisa – By Leonardo da Vinci (Room 6 -Denon wing)

We can pretty much say that this is the most famous piece in the collection of Louvre. Monalisa is located in the Room 6. The whole mystery behind that eyebrowless face makes it worth a visit, but be prepared, her room is always very crowded and the painting isn’t any big, so you will need to sneak between the chineses to get a nice pic.

Louvre Museum

Les Noces de Cana – By Paolo Veronese (Room 6- Denon wing)

This is the biggest painting of the museum’s collection. The painting was stole by Napoleon and brought to Paris. Represents a nuptial banquet described in the Gospel of John.

 

Louvre Museum

The Coronation of Napoleon -Jacques-Louis David (Room 75 – Denon wing)

Painted in 1807, represents the moment of the coronation of Napoleon. Its size as well as the details are very impressive, it has 10 metros wide and 6 height and what calls attention is that it is so well done that you can almost feel the different fabrics the people in the painting were supposed to be wearing.

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Louvre Museum

La Grande Odalisque – Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (Room 75 – Denon wing)

Made for Napoleon’s sister, Queen Caroline Murat, this painting generated harsh criticism for the distortion of anatomical proportions.

Louvre Museum

The Intervention of the Sabine Women – Jacques-Louis David (Room 75 – Denon wing)

The painting represents a legendary episode of the Roman mythology with the Sabine women interposing themselves to separate the Romans and Sabines soldiers.
The question is: why are the guards naked in the middle of a battle? We will never know.

Louvre Museum

The Young Martyr – Paul Delaroche (Room 76 -Denon Wing)

One of my favorite painting in Louvre, it pictures a martyr woman in the Tiber river. It is a very dramatic painting, yet all the moviment of the body in the water (clothes and hair) makes it looks so peaceful

Louvre Museum

Liberty Leading the People – Eugène Delacroix (Room 77 – Denon wing)

The painting is a commemoration for the July Revolution of 1830. The woman in the picture represents the Liberty but is also considered as a symbol of France known as Marianne.

Louvre Museum

The Seated Scribe (room 22 – Sully wing)

We all know that egyptians had a really remarkable art style, paintings of human being in a side position are easy to find, but 3D sculptures are not, they are few and this is one chance to see one. The sculpture is very well done, its eyes are made of a kind of glass wich, gives a sense of depth, very impressive for the period of time the statue was made. Unfortunately nobody knows who the man pictured in this statue was.

 

Second Floor

Louvre Museum

Gabrielle d’ Estrées and one of Her Sisters – Unknown Author (Room 10 – Richelieu wing)

Aaah the painting of a woman grabbing the nipple of her sister, pure art. Actually this awkward position is supposed to symbolize the fact that Gabrielle d’Estrées, who had an affair with the king, was pregnant, on her left hand she is discreetly holding a ring that was a present from the king to her.

Louvre Museum

The Lacemaker – Johannes Vermeer (Room 36 – Richelieu wing)

Thats what I call a hard worker, she is sitting there doing her job for over 300 years. What calls attention here is the intimacy of this painting, the woman pictured looks so concentrated in her work that she doesn’t seem to notice the spectators. It is not a big painting so you need to come close to be able to appreciate the details.

Of course there are many other pieces that are worth visit and again, if you are able to visit the museum without rush, do so, you will for sure see pieces and details that will be unique for you!

Do you guys have a favorite masterpiece, what it is? Would you include any other in the list? Comment below and let us know!

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