The Louvre Museum is home to an extensive and diverse collection of sculptures, showcasing artistic masterpieces from various periods and cultures.
The Louvre sculpture collection spans from ancient civilizations to the Renaissance and beyond. The museum boasts over 9,000 sculptures, ranging from small figurines to monumental works, making it one of the world’s most comprehensive and diverse repositories of sculptural art.
While the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory are undoubtedly iconic, these are just a glimpse of the exceptional sculptures to see in the Louvre. Other famous Louvre sculptures include The Seated Scribe, a detailed ancient Egyptian sculpture, Antonio Canova’s neoclassical Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, Michelangelo’s poignant The Dying Slave, and The Three Graces representing charm and beauty.
To help you, we have curated a list of the most famous sculptures in the Louvre Museum for you to see on your next visit to the Louvre. Exploring these famous Louvre sculptures offers a captivating journey through the evolution of art.
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Famous Louvre Sculptures
1. Winged Victory of Samothrace
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also known as the Nike of Samothrace, is a Hellenistic sculpture depicting Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
Created around 190 BCE, it was discovered in 1863 by Charles Champoiseau on the island of Samothrace in Greece. The statue was found in pieces on a hillside and is believed to have been part of a monument commemorating a naval victory.
Winged Victory is one of the most famous Louvre sculptures and the one that is photographed the most, being on display in the staircase of the Louvre, giving a dramatic aura to the statue.
2. Venus de Milo
The Venus de Milo is an ancient Greek statue believed to represent Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.
The statue was made around 100 BCE and discovered in 1820 by a farmer on the island of Milos in Greece. When it was discovered the statue already lacked her arms, and their original position and existence remain a mystery.
The Venus de Milo is admired for its classical beauty and has become an iconic symbol of ancient Greek art, being one of the most well-recognized sculptures in the world, Venus de Milo is one of the most famous sculptures in the Louvre Museum.
3. The Dying Slave by Michelangelo
The Dying Slave is a sculpture created by Michelangelo, part of his unfinished series intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II.
Michelangelo worked on the project between 1513 and 1516. The Dying Slave represents a male figure in the throes of death, conveying a powerful sense of emotional and physical struggle.
The statue was commissioned for the pope’s tomb but remained incomplete due to various factors, including financial problems and the fact that Michelangelo was busy with other commitments. The unfinished nature of The Dying Slave and other sculptures from the tomb project adds to their allure, allowing viewers to glimpse the artist’s creative process.
The sculpture was acquired by the French government after the fall of Napoleon and is now on display in the Louvre.
4. Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by Antonio Canova
“The Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” is a neoclassical sculpture by Antonio Canova, created between 1787 and 1793. The sculpture depicts the god Cupid reviving the lifeless Psyche with a kiss. The story is drawn from Roman mythology and symbolizes the triumph of love over death.
Commissioned by Colonel John Campbell, an art collector, the sculpture gained considerable acclaim for its exquisite craftsmanship and emotional depth.
The statue was acquired by Napoleon’s brother-in-law and put on display at the Louvre.
5. Diana of Versailles
The Diana of Versailles, also known as Artemis of Versailles, is a Roman marble copy of an ancient Greek statue. The sculpture represents Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt and wild animals, equivalent to the Greek goddess Artemis. It is believed to have been created in the 2nd century CE, as a copy of a Greek original from the 4th century BCE.
The statue was discovered in 1556 in Italy, maybe in the Temple of Diana, in Nemi, but other sources suggest that it was found near the Villa of Hadrian at Tivoli. It was later given as a gift to King Henry II of France, by Pope Paul IV, and moved to Fontainebleau. Eventually, it found its way to the Palace of Versailles, where it remained until the French Revolution.
Currently, the Diana of Versailles is housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
6. The Three Graces
The Three Graces is a famous classical motif representing three female figures often depicted dancing, embracing, or holding hands. They are associated with charm, beauty, and the joy of life. Numerous artistic representations of the Three Graces exist across various cultures and periods.
The sculpture in the Louvre Museum in Paris is an ancient Roman copy of a Hellenistic original. Created around the 2nd century BCE, it represents the three daughters of Zeus—Aglaea (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer). The Graces were associated with beauty, charm, and grace.
The statue was discovered in the ruins of the Roman villa of Emperor Hadrian at Tivoli in Italy during the 18th century. It became part of the Louvre’s collection after being acquired by Louis XIV in the 17th century.
This particular representation of the Three Graces showcases the classical ideal of female beauty and the virtues associated with these goddesses.
7. The Seated Scribe
The Seated Scribe is an ancient Egyptian sculpture dating back to the 26th century BCE, from the Old Kingdom period. It was discovered in 1850 at the Saqqara necropolis near Memphis, Egypt, by French archaeologist Auguste Mariette.
This finely detailed limestone statue represents a scribe in a seated position, emphasizing the individual’s high social status and intellectual pursuits. Unlike other depictions of elite individuals, the Seated Scribe is shown in a more naturalistic and relaxed posture, with attention to the depiction of facial features and clothing.
8. The Sphinx of Tanis
The Sphinx of Tanis is an ancient Egyptian sphinx statue that was discovered in Tanis, a city in the Nile Delta. Tanis was the capital of Egypt during the 21st Dynasty and the 23rd Dynasty
The Sphinx of Tanis is made of red granite and is believed to date back to the New Kingdom, around 1200 BCE, although it is hard to determine. The statue is notable for its colossal size, with a length of over 8 meters (26 feet). The Sphinx depicts a lion with a pharaoh’s head, likely representing a specific ruler of the time.
The statue was found in the Temple of Amun-Ra during excavations led by French archaeologist Pierre Montet in the 1920s and 1930s. The statue was acquired by the Louvre from Henry Salt, an English diplomat who was also a collector of antiquities.
9. Winged Bulls
The Louvre Museum in Paris houses a notable collection of ancient Near Eastern art, including winged bulls or lamassu. One particularly famous example is the Assyrian Lamassu from the palace of Sargon II at Khorsabad.
This colossal winged bull was part of the elaborate architectural ornamentation of the Assyrian capital city Dur-Sharrukin (modern-day Khorsabad) in the 8th century BCE. Lamassu figures served a protective role at city gates or palace entrances, symbolizing the power and might of the Assyrian kings.
10. Ain Ghazal
Ain Ghazal refers to a collection of prehistoric statues discovered at the archaeological site of Ain Ghazal in Jordan. The statues are part of the Neolithic period and date back to around 7000–6500 BCE, they are among the oldest pieces on display at the Louvre Museum.
The Ain Ghazal statues are remarkable for their large size and distinctive features. The most well-known examples are the plaster statues depicting human figures. These statues, often with exaggerated features and almond-shaped eyes, were crafted using a mixture of lime plaster and reeds.
As for the Louvre, it houses one of the Ain Ghazal statues, known as the “Statue of a human figure.” This particular statue is one of the earliest known large-scale representations of the human form from the ancient Near East.
The discovery at Ain Ghazal was made during the 1980s, and the archaeological site provided valuable insights into early agricultural communities. The Louvre’s Ain Ghazal Standing Figures are essential artifacts shedding light on the artistic and cultural practices of Neolithic societies in the region.
11. Borghese Gladiator
The statue was made in Ephesus about 100 BC, by an artist called Agasias (according to the signature). It received the name “Borghese Gladiator” due to its historical association with the Borghese family, who once owned the piece. However, the statue most probably doesn’t represent a gladiator, but rather a warrior
Borghese Gladiator was discovered among the ruins of a seaside palace of Nero, around 1610, the statue was then added to the collection of the Borghese family, and in 1807, Camillo Borghese saw himself pressured to sell the statue to his brother-in-law, Napoleon Bonaparte.
12. Sleeping Hermaphroditus
The statue depicts Hermaphroditus, the child of Hermes and Aphrodite, in a reclining position. This particular depiction is a Roman copy of a Greek original from the 2nd century BCE.
The sculpture represents a sensual blending of male and female attributes, showcasing the androgynous nature of Hermaphroditus. The figure is in a state of sleep, with an alluring vulnerability and a draped cloth partially covering the body.
The Sleeping Hermaphroditus was discovered in Rome during the 17th century. The statue’s restoration was executed by the renowned sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who added the super realistic mattress and pillows. The piece was later acquired by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, becoming part of the Borghese Collection and eventually finding its way to the Louvre.
13. Milo of Croton
The statue was commissioned to Pierre Puget by King Louis XIV to decorate the gardens of the Versailles Palace.
Milo of Croton was a legendary ancient Greek athlete and wrestler who lived in the 6th century BCE. According to the myth, Milo attempted to split a tree trunk with his bare hands. He succeeded in creating a gap in the trunk, but when he tried to pull his hands out, the tree closed in, trapping him. Unable to free himself, Milo became prey to wild animals, being killed and eaten by wolves.
The myth highlights the dangers of excessive pride and strength, which makes this artwork even more curious when you take into consideration it was commissioned to King Louis XIV, famous for his pride and excesses, (but we are not here to judge him, right?!)
In this sculpture, Puget took the freedom to exchange the wolf for a lion. Milo is represented here with a distressed expression, while he desperately tries to free himself, his legs and feet.
14. Saint Mary Magdalene
Saint Mary Magdalene is definitely an unusual portrait of a saint. Here Mary is presented naked, clothed by her long hair only.
This painted wooden sculpture represents the repentant Mary Magdalene, and is also known by other names: Penitent Magdalene or also The Beautiful German Woman.
It was created by Gregor Erhart in 1520 probably for the Church of Saint-Mary-Magdalene in Augsburg, Germany. The sculpture is a good representation of the Nordic humanism popular in the late Middle Ages.
Visiting the Louvre Museum
Tickets can be bought in the ticket office and costs €22. However, you have to get in the queue to buy the ticket, and then get in another queue to enter the museum. A good idea is to buy the ticket online, so you can avoid the queue, and guarantee your entry.
Guided tours are always a good idea especially when you are visiting a big museum such as the Louvre, with a guided tour you are guaranteed you will see all the highlights and most famous masterpieces without getting lost in the process. It is a way more immersive experience and a fun way to learn.
There are tours for all kinds of people and purposes, check the list of the best Louvre Museum tours here.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to the Louvre Museum is by bus or metro.
Bus No. 21, 27, 39, 67, 68, 69, 72, 74, 85, 95
Metro: Palais-Royal / Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7) or Pyramides (line 14)
The museum is open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. On Fridays from 9:00 AM to 9:45 PM. The Louvre Museum is closed on Tuesdays.
The last entry is always 1 hour before the closing, and they clean the rooms 30 minutes before closing.