Destinations Magazine

Inside the Louvre - Photos of the Masterpieces

By Livingthedreamrtw @livingdreamrtw
Louvre The Louvre.  It is beautiful.  There is no other word that can so simply describe the greatest art gallery in the world.  With halls so large that it would take several days of wandering just to spend a few moments appreciating every single piece, it is quite easy to miss the masterpieces and just as likely to stumble upon a new favorite in the process.  After two trips to the Louvre on my last visit to Paris, I made the effort to not only see the most famous works of art in the world, but discover my own personal favorites, illustrated in this photo oriented post!

The Masterpieces 
Many of the world's most recognized art pieces are housed within the immense walls of the Louvre.  A good chunk of a day can be spent only seeing the most world renowned works of art, and that just scratches the surface of the collection.  The Venus de Milo, thought to depict the goddess Aphrodite, was crafted around 100 BC.  Standing nearly 7 feet tall, this statue is one of the gallery's most famous residents and does not disappoint.  Isolated on her own, Venus commands attention.  Judging by the number of visitors, she most certainly gets it.
Raft of the Medusa
The Raft of the Medusa is one of my personal favorite paintings in the Louvre not only for its brilliant scene and skill of the painter, but for its size.  This wonderful masterpiece is approximately 280" wide and 200" tall and its scale can be seen by the head of an onlooker standing at the bottom left hand corner of the photo that I took.  An upsetting splotch on an otherwise great photo, but perfect to illustrate the sheer scale of it all.  This photo depicts the scene after the wreck of the French ship the Meduse where over 100 survivors set sail on a poorly made raft, nearly all but 15 dying in the coming days at sea.
An equally stunning statue to the Venus de Milo is Winged Victory of Samothrace, another armless (and headless) statue from around 200 BC.  It may not be well understood from just looking at the statue, but Winged Victory is believed to be created to honor the goddess Nike and honor a major battle of the time.  Again housed in her own room, the statue has an aura about it that only a few of the other masterpieces housed in the Louvre have.  With no other distractions all eyes are on her, and it is hard to look away.
Winged Victory
The Historical Treasures
Easter Island
Other than the famous artworks of the world, the Louvre houses some of the best cultural specific treasures that you can find outside of their home country.  The two that I were immediately drawn to were one of the heads of the immense Moai Statues of Easter Island and the incredible Egyptian wing, the largest collection of artifacts outside of the country (reported to number 50,000+).   As my next trip following the European adventure was Egypt, visiting the collection of artifacts was not only a great experience to learn about the ancient civilization, but get excited for the next year's adventure.
The Just Plain Fun 
With its size and fame, you would almost expect the Louvre to be a very serious place.  With numerous priceless pieces of art and thousands of visitors every day, there is reason to be concerned for the safety of the employees, art, and visitors themselves.  Still, even with this concern looming, the Louvre has a fun side that caught me totally off guard.
During both visits to the gallery I was met with dozens of painters actively working on replicas of some of the best works of art the world has ever known.  From professional painters to retirees, it seemed like a very popular activity for those who love to create art.  Standing back and watching an artist work was almost more enjoyable than appreciating the finished product, and is something I am very happy that the curators of the Louvre let go on within its walls. Still, I can imagine that someone in maintenance has a headache over the many drips of paint that likely hit the floor each day.
Oh..and Mona Too
We cannot have an article about the Louvre's top artworks without including the tiny Mona Lisa.  After all, it is a bit obligatory to talk about her in every single Louvre post and every fifth post about the city of Paris. Unfortunately for Mona, I'm going to let you in on a fairly well known secret.  She is small, very small.  The Mona Lisa, arguably the most famous painting in the world, is only about 30" tall and 20" wide.   To put that in perspective, the wall that she is housed on with no other artwork is nearly 30 feet wide and 20 feet tall, making her appear even smaller.  In an even more ironic context, most every other painting in the room is at minimum five to ten times larger.  Small indeed!
Even though the Mona Lisa is a beautiful painting, it is hard to keep your focus as several of the world's best paintings are housed in the same room, enjoyed by just turning a few degrees in any direction.  This is only the beginning, and the rest of the Louvre's treasures are waiting to be to be explored.
During your next visit to Paris, be sure to allow extra time to explore all of the unpublished features of the Louvre.  Saying the gallery is large is an understatement.  Just hitting the major sites included in this post would take a half day of exploring, and that is less than 1% of the total collection.  If you keep this one fact in mind, your next trip to Paris will be a fantastic experience, and visiting the Louvre will be one of the highlights.
What is your favorite exhibit or piece of art in the Louvre?  Comment below and let us know!
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