Hey friends! As you guys may know by now, I absolutely love art and art museums. When I travel to new places, I always make sure that there’s at least one museum on my itinerary. And of course, when I visited Paris for the first time this summer, I couldn’t miss out on the beautiful and iconic Louvre. After visiting, it’s safe to say that the Louvre is now my favorite museum in the entire world! So, I thought I would make a little appreciation post and discuss my 10 favorite pieces in the Louvre! Don’t forget to let me know what your favorite pieces are in the comments!
My 10 Favorite Pieces In The Louvre
Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss
‘Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss’ is a sculpture created by Antonio Canova. It captures the moment after Psyche falls into a deathlike sleep after breathing in fumes from a flask she stole from the Underworld for Venus, Cupid’s mother. The sculpture was inspired by the Latin author, Apuleius, in the tale Metamorphoses. At the end of the tale, the gods decide to grant Cupid Psyche’s hand in marriage, giving her immortality and making her the goddess of the Soul.
Winged Victory of Samothrace
The ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’ is a sculpture by Pythokritos of Lindos that depicts the goddess of victory, Nike, appearing on the bow of a ship during a sea battle. The statue has been displayed at the Louvre since 1884 and is now one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world. There’s a small inscription on the base of the statue that includes the word “Rhodios” (Rhodian), indicating that the statue was commissioned to celebrate a naval victory by Rhodes, which would date the statue to 288 BC.
Venus de Milo
The Aphrodite of Milos, or as it’s better known, Venus de Milo, is an ancient Greek sculpture by Alexandros of Antioch. The sculpture was created sometime between 130 and 100 BC, depicting Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty (Venus to the Romans). It received its name, ‘de Milo’ because it was discovered on the Greek island of Milos in 1820 by a peasant named Yorgos Kentrotas and is widely known for the mystery surrounding her missing arms.These are the best art pieces located in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Click To Tweet
‘The Astronomer’ is an oil painting by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer created in 1668. The astronomer’s profession is shown by the celestial globe and the book on the table – the 1621 edition of Adriaan Metius’s Institutiones Astronomicae Geographicae. I believe that this painting represents the human fascination with the complexities of a world.
The Raft Of The Medusa
‘The Raft Of The Medusa’ is an oil painting by Théodore Géricault, which is now an icon of French Romanticism. It’s an over-life-size painting (16′ 1″ × 23′ 6″) that depicts a moment from the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of today’s Mauritania on 2 July 1816. On 5 July 1816, at least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue and those who survived endured starvation, dehydration and practiced cannibalism. The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain.
The ‘Sleeping Hermaphroditus’ is an ancient marble sculpture depicting the life-size Hermaphroditus. The artist behind ‘Hermaphroditus’ is unknown, but the mattress was created in 1620 by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The form is partly derived from ancient portrayals of Venus and other female nudes, and partly from contemporaneous feminized Hellenistic portrayals of Dionysus/Bacchus.
Great Sphinx of Tanis
This is one of the largest sphinxes outside of Egypt. It was found in 1825 among the ruins of the Temple of Amun at Tanis (the capital of Egypt during the 21st and 22nd dynasties). It’s inscribed with the names of the pharaohs Ammenemes II (12th Dynasty, 1929-1895 BC), Merneptah (19th Dynasty, 1212-02 BC) and Shoshenq I (22nd Dynasty, 945-24 BC). According to archaeologists, certain details suggest that this sphinx dates to an earlier period – the Old Kingdom (c. 2600 BC).
The Coronation of Napoleon
The Coronation of Napoleon is a painting completed in 1807 by Jacques-Louis David, who was the official painter of Napoleon, depicting the coronation of Napoleon I at Notre-Dame de Paris.
Pyramide du Louvre
The Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre) is a large glass and metal pyramid designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard (Cour Napoléon) of the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989, it has become a landmark of the city of Paris. Technically this isn’t a work of art per say, but it’s the most iconic part of the Louvre, that I had to include it.
The Mona Lisa is a portrait painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci that has been described as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world”. The Mona Lisa is also one of the most valuable paintings in the world. It holds the Guinness World Record for the highest known insurance valuation in history at one hundred million dollars in 1962, which is worth nearly eight hundred million dollars in 2017.
Some Helpful Tips
- If you can afford it, book a private tour. We need this when we visited and it was worth far more than what it cost. Our tour was extremely knowledgeable, patient, and had a good sense of humor. Since it’s impossible to visit every single piece of artwork in one day, our tour guide covered the most popular pieces, as well as some lesser-known pieces, and added it a bunch of history regarding the Louvre’s history. I loved it and would book a tour guide again the next time we visit the Louvre.
- Use the restroom beforehand – once you get past the entrance, you will not find a single bathroom. Nor will you find a single water fountain so bring a bottle of water as well. You’ll be surprised at how thirsty you’ll get and how much you have to pee when you realize you can’t.
- Wear comfortable shoes. The Louvre was a lot larger than what I had expected and you will do so much walking.
- Be careful of selfie-takers/ taking a selfie. Most of the artwork here is worth more money than any of us can imagine, so don’t be that person who’s so focused on taking a selfie, that they trip over the security barrier around the artwork and crash into the piece of art.