09 August, 2018

The History of The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre) is celebrating its 225th anniversary this year. A world landmark, 6 million people visit it each year and it's home to the most famous painting in the world, La Joconde (The Mona Lisa).

Join us as we explore the Louvre's history from its fortified foundations to its time as a Royal Palace (before the revolution) and more!

Key Points in History: The Louvre Museum

The Louvre underwent major changes under the reign of numerous kings, major leaders and societal changes. Here are some of the most significant.

King Philip II of France (1190)

The year is 1190 and Richard I of England and Philip II of France join the Third Crusade.

In Paris, the King orders a fortress built on the land the Louvre sits on to prevent invasion. Four moats and defensive towers make up the fortress. 

King Louis XIII and XIV (1624-72)

King Louis XIII and Louis XIV order extensive renovations which result in the Louvre we know today.

French Revolution (1791-1793)

The French Revolution marked a major change for the renovated space. It became a place for monuments of science and art.

Christened as the Muséum Central des Arts de la République, the seized possessions of Royal families and aristocrats made up the collections.

Napoleon I (1798-1815)

Emperor Napoleon I increased the number of collections at the Louvre through items acquired during his conquests. The museum, renamed as the Musée Napoleon in 1803, displayed a bust of Napoleon at the entrance.

Trivia - to celebrate the conquests of the Emperor, architectures placed a miniature 'Arc de Triomphe' in the Tuileries Garden in 1806.

The Musée Napoleon I benefitted from modernised curating and trading techniques to contain over 11,000 paintings from a variety of civilisations. 

Trivia - The Musée Napoleon I changes to the Musée Napoleon III to commemorate the leader of the Second Empire.  

End of 20th Century (1989)

1989: Chinese architect I.M. Pei creates the Louvre's glass pyramid and becomes the new main entrance.

Final Words

On its first day, The Louvre showed the Royal Family's treasures and became a symbol for a new era for Paris and France. It opened on the anniversary of Louis XVI's ousting.

The Louvre sits on 900 years of history filled with change that go beyond imagination. Originally a fortress, it's a beacon for art and culture, symbolised by the famous pyramid entrance.

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225 Years of the Louvre Museum
225 Years of the Louvre Museum
225 Years of the Louvre Museum
225 Years of the Louvre Museum