The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and certainly a huge building. I’ve been there a number of times, and this was somehow the first time I went to the exhibit on the history of the building itself. True, that’s not necessarily the point of going to the Louvre (and we spent only a small amount of time on that part), but it was interesting to learn about how it changed and grew over the years.
These are the original walls that date from the 1100s, when the Louvre was a functioning fortress as a part of the Philippe Auguste walls.
But, the art is the point of the Louvre, and here is a small selection of the not-super-famous works that we saw:
This is a sculpture of Hermes that is in the sculpture gardens under glass in the Richelieu Wing. I’ve been on a bit of a Hermes/Mercury kick lately, so it was good to see him in his silly, Flash-esque hat, putting on his winged sandals.
I am forever and always in love with the blue in this mosaic.
Napoleon III was as over the top as you might think he was. The rooms that they’ve preserved are kind of incredible.
It’s also vaguely ridiculous that so much excellent Flemish art is in a French art museum (why, exactly?), but you should enjoy this Rembrandt.
And this Vermeer. I’m a big Vermeer fan.
I am forever and always here for the Winged Victory of Samothrace, aka the statue that Megan Rapinoe reminds me of when she celebrates goals. She is athletic and in shape and she is celebrating because she has just won. And there are so few statues of women, especially from antiquity, that celebrate strong women.
I like this Da Vinci that you can get close to and enjoy – a portrait of Anne, Mary, and Jesus – without the insanity of the Mona Lisa.
Here is an actual famous piece of French artwork, Liberty leading the troops to victory.
The Louvre is full of amazing artwork, but the Tuileries gardens (just outside the museum) are also amazing and worth your time. Especially at the end of a day that you’ve spent on your feet in a huge museum that could be the basis for a semester-long art history class.
It’s full of tourists, but it’s full of tourists for a reason. Visit Paris in an off-season, make your plan of attack ahead of time, and then go enjoy the amazing artwork.