Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Brief History of the Louvre

Drawing on over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, Scott G. Sink serves as senior executive vice president of the energy and marine division at McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc. In addition to his professional pursuits, Scott G. Sink enjoys traveling. He and his family have visited several locations around the world, including Paris, France.

With 8.1 million visitors per year, the Musee du Louvre in Paris is the most visited museum in the world. The Louvre houses some of the world’s most recognizable pieces of art including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix. Well-known sculptures from antiquity such as the Winged Victory of Samothrace and Venus de Milo also reside in the Louvre.

The Louvre itself has an extensive history. Originally commissioned in 1190 by Philippe Auguste, the building was intended to be a strategic garrison to defend the city against Viking raiders. The building served as a fortress for many years until the sixteenth century, when King Francois began to use the structure as a residence. He began a series of renovations and building projects that continued for centuries.

Louis XIV transformed the Louvre into a center for the arts when he began housing the royal academies of architecture, science, painting, and sculpture in the building. There, scholars and artists gathered to further their crafts, exhibit their work, and conduct important studies. 

During the French Revolution and in the years following, the Louvre developed into a museum for the public. For the first time, all citizens were able to see the royal collections as well as a number of works seized from the nobility. In later years, during the reign of Napoleon, additional antiquities were added to the museum.

During the late 20th century, the Musee du Louvre was completely renovated and reorganized. As a part of this process, artwork completed after 1820 moved to the Musee D’Orsay. I.M. Pei’s iconic glass pyramid was added in 1989, creating a new entrance that could accommodate the Louvre’s visitors.