Louvre Palace: history and photos


2018-03-27 21:02:15




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Louvre Palace (France) is a Museum and architectural complex in the centre of Paris, formed over many centuries. Originally a massive fortress, later rebuilt into an elegant Royal residence. Today is the greatest Museum in the world with a rich collection of works of art.

Louvre Palace


The Largest historic mansion of Europe, converted into a Museum, is located on the right Bank of the Seine. For 800 years the complex was rebuilt many times. In architectural terms, the Louvre has absorbed the elements of Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism and eclecticism. A separate building, attached to each other in General form a powerful structure erected on the plan of an elongated rectangle. Of course, one of the most important attractions of Paris is the Louvre Palace.

The Plan of the complex includes:

  • The main building, consisting of three connected galleries;
  • Underground exposure, the visible part of which is the glass pyramid in the courtyard of Napoleon;
  • Carousel the arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries gardens.

The complex of buildings with a total area of 60 600 m2 is a Museum with over 35,000 works of art. World heritage presents paintings, sculptures, jewelry, household items, elements of architecture, covering the period from ancient times to the mid-nineteenth century. Among the most valuable exhibits-stele with code of Hammurabi, the Nike of Samothrace sculpture, painting "Mona Lisa” painted by Leonardo da Vinci and other masterpieces.

Louvre Palace history

Early middle ages

Louvre Palace, history of which dates back to the XII century, initially a purely defensive function. During the reign of Philip Augustus II outside Paris was built thirty meters a defensive donjon tower. Around it was built 10 smaller towers connected with a wall.


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In those turbulent times the main danger came from the North-West at any moment could attack the Vikings or the pretenders to the French throne from the lineage of Plantagenet and Capetian. In addition, in Alliance with the king of England was the Duchy of Normandy, located in the neighborhood.

The Fortress was completed patrol-defensive function. The individual parts of the tower can be seen in the basement. They refer to the exposition dedicated to the history of the Louvre, and declared an archaeological reserve. It is possible that the king built a citadel on the foundations of an earlier defensive system. Incidentally, the word "Louvre" the language of the Franks means "watchtower".

Louvre Palace France

Late middle ages

In the second half of the fourteenth century, the Louvre Palace has undergone a sea change. By the time Paris has expanded considerably. Were built new city walls and the old citadel was inside the city limits. The strategic importance of the fortifications leveled. Charles V the Wise rebuilt the fortress into a representative castle and moved his headquarters.

The Keep was changed. The internal layout was adapted to the residential needs, had a roof with pinnacles. Around the quadrangle built residential and commercial buildings of the same height. Above the main gate stood two small, elegant turret that gave the building a certain elegance.

The lower part of the walls have been partially preserved to our days. Remains of buildings occupy a quarter of the East wing of the present Louvre. In particular – a quadrangle around a square courtyard.

Louvre Palace in Paris

The Renaissance

In the sixteenth century Francis I decided to re-rebuild the Louvre Palace. The architect Pierre lescot proposed to reconstruct a castle in the French Renaissance style. The work began in 1546 and was continued under Henry II.

The New building was originally supposed to have a rectangular shape with a large courtyard (CSD Quads), but ultimately the shape changed to square. During the life of Pierre lescot was built only a part of the West wing on the South side. It is the oldest fully preserved building of the current Cathedral.

The Architect is widely used in the architecture of classical forms, combining them with the traditional French school (high roof with attics). The building is characterized by harmonious articulation of the façade with three zones of discontinuities in the form of rectangular Windows surmounted by triangular pediments, separated by pilasters, and arcades on the ground floor. The facade was supplemented by a large number of sculptures. Louvre Palace inside was less than impressive sight. Lesko together with the sculptor Jean Goujon built a Large Hall with a statue of Artemis.

Extension lock

During the reign of Catherine de ' Medici was built next to the Palace of the Tuileries and developed the concept of an extension to him of the existing buildings of the Louvre. To implement the project had Henry IV.

First, the Louvre Palace was cleansed of the remnants of the old castle and extended the courtyard. Then the architects Louis Mateso and Jacques Andrea has completed the construction of the gallery Petite and started work on the Great gallery (Grande Gallerie), which connected the Louvre and the Tuileries.

At this stage the centre becomes a focus of science andculture. Printing was located there, mint. And later in one of the buildings were allowed to settle and work sculptors, painters, jewelers, watchmakers, gunsmiths, engravers, weavers.

Louvre Palace plan

Seventeenth century

Louvre Palace continued to grow and in the seventeenth century. Louis XIII has picked up the torch of their ancestors. The Jacques Lemercier in 1624, began the construction of the pavilion Hours, and to the North the building was erected – a copy of the gallery Pierre lescot.

Louis XIV, who had a weakness for grandiose projects, ordered to demolish old buildings and build spaces around the courtyard. They were all designed in the same style. But the most ambitious task was the construction of the Eastern colonnade.

Since this part of the Palace facing the town, she decided to make especially spectacular. Were invited the best European architects of the time. The most ambitious project was presented by the Italian Giovanni Bernini. It is proposed to demolish the Palace and build a new one. Taking into consideration how hard work and persistence, the complex was built by previous kings, the idea was rejected. Claude Perrault (elder brother of storyteller Charles Perrault) developed a compromise, which began to build.

Louvre Palace architect

Face Paris

The Eastern colonnade has transformed the Louvre Palace. Description of 173-meter facilities, experts describe as follows – this is the highest embodiment of the ideas of French classicism. Claude Perrault refused dominated while massive Roman architecture, which was half-columns and pilasters. Replaced outdoor air columns in the Corinthian style, supporting a flat roof (which was also an innovation).

Surprisingly, K. Perrault (who was actually self-taught) could give the building a grandeur no fanciful sculptures and “frills”, so popular in the XVII century. His ideas of a giant of a coherent order, towering over the massive first floor, picked up by architects throughout Europe. These types of buildings are found in St. Petersburg. The idea is to place the columns in pairs between the Windows, on the one hand, to preserve the airiness of the colonnade, with another – to increase the amount of light entering rooms.

VXIII-XX century

During this period, the Louvre Palace loses its status as a Royal residence. In 1682, king Louis and his retinue move to Versailles. Many rooms remained unfinished. Under Napoleon Bonaparte the construction continued. On draft Visconti added onto the North wing. Was erected the new gallery – Fontaine and Percier.

In the twentieth century (1985-1989), the famous architect M. Pei proposed a bold and elegant design of the underground Museum. Additional entrance to the Louvre was through the glass pyramid, which serves as the dome of the underground hall.

Louvre Palace


A Unique collection of the Louvre began to form from the time of king Francis I, who admired Italian art. He gathered in his country residence of Fontainebleau works of the Renaissance, then moved to Paris.

The collection of Francis I were the paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, collection. In addition, the monarch invited from the Apennines by the best Italian architects, painters, jewelers, sculptors. The most famous of his guest was Leonardo da Vinci, the legacy of which went to the Louvre a painting “La Gioconda".

During the reign of monarch Henry IV in the Louvre Palace in Paris became the artistic center of France. In the Grand gallery worked with dozens of famous artists, whose works became the basis of the future Museum. Louis XIV also loved all the beautiful. In his Royal office, there were fifteen hundred paintings, French, Flemish, Italian, Dutch painters.

The French revolution contributed to the development of the Museum and its transformation into a public institution. Collections of kings, aristocrats, the Church was nationalized and joined the Museum. The Napoleonic campaigns to become the next source of exposures. After the defeat of Napoleon was returned to over 5 000 of the captured works of the former owners, but many remained in the Louvre.

Development of the Museum

The Constituent Assembly 26.07.1791 ordered to gather at the Louvre Palace “monuments of arts and Sciences». To the public, the Museum opened 18.11.1793.

In the twentieth century Louvre Palace, photo of striking splendor, has undergone changes. Re-built underground gallery with its glass pyramid and the Museum's collection was divided. There remained only the works created until 1848. Later impressionist paintings were moved to the Orsay Museum and Impressionism. Those exhibits that were created after 1914, are in the National center. Georges Pompidou.

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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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