Le Louvre

Friday, 1/9/09

The contemporary courtyard and a view from under the Louvre's pyramid:

fountains pyramid

Friday morning, we explored Le Louvre, Paris’ largest and best-known art museum. The museum is truly impressive, both due to the amount of art it contains as well as the design of the building itself.  Le Louvre was originally the royal palace, so the halls are expansive and ornate.  However, they don’t quite compare to the extravagance of the rooms of Versailles, which we explored the day before. I was more struck by the juxtaposition of the palace’s medieval architecture with I. M. Pei’s modern glass pyramid, under which visitors enter the Louvre.  The pyramid’s transparency opens up the museum to the outside world, so I thought it was very fitting as an entrance.  Of course, not everybody appreciates the invasion of contemporary art into the historic setting.

Melissa, Elizabeth, Prof. Turk, Guide Sophie, Koyel, and Alina in front of the pyramid:


Sophie joined us as our guide, and I had no idea that it was her first time officially guiding us through the Louvre until M. Turk told us afterwards – the tour was a great introduction to some of the Louvre’s most notable works. We saw classic Greek and Roman sculptures (Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace), and 17th, 18th, and 19th century European art.  We paused at the Mona Lisa, as is obligatory for all tourists, but I found it to be quite anticlimactic.  I was more impressed by the larger and more complex paintings like David’s Sabine Women.  The museum is so expansive that after a few hours it felt like we had barely made a dent in seeing the collection.  But Sophie highlighted some of the most significant works, and I felt like I had a framework with which I could explore the museum on my own later on.


An artist drawing inspiration from her surroundings and The Sabine Women:

painter sabine women