Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Arts: Louvre & Sculptures

The Louvre

In the Middle Ages, during the reign of Philippe Auguste, the French monarchy grew considerably.  Around 1190, Paris was Europe's largest city so to protect her a rampart was built around it to protect it from Anglo-Norman threat.  He had a fortress built to reinforce defense and today this is known as the Louvre.  It was built west of the city, on the banks of the Seine.

A new phase of the Louvre began after the demolition of the Grosse Tour and would continue to the reign of the "Sun King," Louise XIV.  The transformation would occur from Francois I's chateau through the commissions of his son Henry II and his sons.  The Grand Galleries would later connect the Louvre and the Tulleries, built some 500 meters away.

The Classical Period
The biggest changes to the Louvre will not happen until the time of Louis XIII and Louis XIV.  The west wing's extension would begin with Louis XIII later completed by Louis XIV and completed by Louis XV.  This is what we see today.  With the completion of Versailles, the Louvre plunges into dormancy.

During the Revolution, Louis XVI was held in the Tulleries.  In 1793, the Museum Central des Arts opened to the public in the Grande Galerie and the Salon Carre.  Gradually, the collections spread taking over the building.  Anne of Austria's apartments would house antique sculptures and further rooms were used as spaces for exhibits under Charles X.

When the Tulleries were demolished in 1882, the Musee de Louvre was born.  It stepped down from its seat of power to a devotee of culture.

 The Louvre houses some of the most famous sculptures in the world and some of the oldest.  It took us an entire day to walk only two wings of the vast museum.  We enjoyed every moment of it.  Furthermore, it was very nice to be able to take pictures (no Flash!) of the art housed in this old fortress.  Here are just some of what we saw.

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