Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Louvre's Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Napolean and More

For first time visitors to Paris like myself, the world renowned Louvre Museum is on the short list of must-see places.

According to Wikipedia, it is the world's largest museum and the second most visited art museum, behind only Beijing, China's Palace Museum.

The massive museum is more than 780,000 square feet in size with 38,000 objects "from prehistory to the 21st century" (Wikipedia).

The Louvre's origin dates to the 12th century when it was built by King Phillip II as a fortress.

In 1682, King Louis XIV moved his royal residence to Versailles (which we also visited- post to come!).  The Louvre Museum would open in 1793.
By purchasing our tickets ahead of time, we avoided the long line to get in The Louvre.

We did have to navigate through the enormous Carrousel du Louvre underground shopping center, which to me was a pain, but Alesia was happy since she finally found a Pandora store in Paris so she could buy Eiffel Tower charms for herself and Tamy, Joseph's girlfriend.
In any event, let's get to the good stuff!  This is the large room that houses The Louvre's No. 1 attraction, the Mona Lisa.

That's her in the back of this photograph.

Joseph is seen on the left, getting a shot with Tamy's selfie stick (which BTW many fellow visitors to Paris have).
In 1503 Leonardo DaVinci painted Lisa Gherardini. This was a commissioned piece for the Italian Renaissance artist.

The name Mona Lisa is considered a rough translation from Italian to English meaning "My Lady Lisa."

The Mona Lisa has been at The Louvre since 1797.

For more on the painting that is still so shrouded in mystery, in many ways, see this link, "Fourteen Things You Don't Know About the Mona Lisa."
This is a panorama of the Mona Lisa room. Click on it to see a larger version.  The painting is in the middle.

This huge painting is on the wall opposite the Mona Lisa.
The ancient Greek Venus de Milo is a legendary sculpture that, like the Mona Lisa, is on a very short list of mine of famous art pieces I could name if and when I saw one.

I should have paid more attention in "Art Appreciation" class freshman year!
The man in the background helps illustrate the great size (6'8") of the Venus de Milo statue.

Incredibly, it dates to 100 (or more) BC. It was found in 1820 on the Aegean Sea island of Milo.  The French government was able to purchase the classic work by Alexandros of Antioch (according to Wikipedia- other sources say the sculptor is not known) and it was displayed at The Louvre after being shipped in pieces and reassembled.
The Great Sphinx of Tanis is another famous pieces of art (among dozens, if not hundreds of famous pieces) at the Louvre Museum.

I cannot get my mind around how old this sculpture is:  2600 BC.  Found in 1825 among temple ruins in Tanis, Egypt, the French again were able to secure this priceless work of art.

It is considered one of the largest existing sphinxes outside of Egypt.
I really like how The Louvre is laid out.  Many display areas are like this one. Sculptures and paintings are spread far enough apart to comfortably walk around and through, and to stop, admire and take some photos.
We didn't feel rushed and could have a little fun with some posed pictures like this one....
...or this one.
Alesia spent a little too much time admiring these male sculptures- ha!
There are places to sit and rest for a few minutes while trying to cover all or most of The Louvre's three quarters of a million square feet.
A favorite painting wing of mine is this war room.
France is proud of its military history and success in wars (OK, probably not World War II).
Napolean Bonaparte and his success in conquering much of the Western world in the early 1800s gets lots of respect.
He is certainly portrayed heroically in this large painting.
Napoleon would go down in history as one of the great military leaders ever.  He would become France's first emperor.

I'll post soon about my visit to his tomb at Invalides in Paris.
Napolean in his trademark pose- hand inside his coat, and wearing his trademark hat.

The palatial Louvre has 7-8 million visitors a year.

The huge former fortress is set up nicely to handle such large crowds, seems to me.
I passed by this piece but was drawn to come back to it...
by its unusual round shape and all those different heads and faces.
The Louvre is organized according to geography and/or time period.
Maps are given at the entrance. They are in at least a dozen different languages.
We, unfortunately, somehow missed getting the guide maps when we entered The Louvre.
So we just kind of winged our walk.
I'm sure there are parts we missed that I wish we hadn't.
But I feel like we did see the really big attractions, like the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, etc.
The Louvre's spacious grounds outside feature this magnificent structure called the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.

This is a smaller version of the nearby Arc du Triomphe.  We also visited this Paris site and I will post about it soon.
The Louvre grounds outside offer some excellent distance views of the Arc du Triomphe and the 75 foot tall Luxor Obelisk, which is more than 3,000 years old.

It came to Paris in 1833 as a gift from Egypt's ruler to France's king.

So much history in this city!
As great as the Louvre Museum is, it has remained affordable to the people.

We purchased tickets through our hotel at 18 euros each, which is about $20.  At the Louvre, tickets are 15 euros.

There are occasional free days and several discount or free categories, including those "seeking jobs and on income support."

The Louvre experience was a very positive one. Culturally and artistically, there may be no better place in the world!  I'm sure the French would not argue that.
Post a Comment