Saturday, May 2, 2015

A day at the Louvre - Musée du Louvre

In my previous post 'To Louvre - to meet Mona Lisa" I was able to cover only to the entrance while describing the exterior of the Louvre Palace turned museum. Now I step inside the Glass Pyramid entrance to explore some of the finest and priceless sculptures, paintings, artwork and the artifacts.

Louvre is a repository of countless paintings and sculptures besides many artifacts. Frankly speaking, if one has to do justice to one's visit to the Louvre, a day is too less to visit the museum in its entirety. But most of the tourists are time compressed and can hardly visit the entire museum. Thus, the tour to Musée du Louvre is to be very selective so that important sculptures and paintings are not missed out. This is what we tried to do and were able to see some of the masterpieces displayed here. Though we still missed out so much which I still regret till this date.

The Louvre Palace, a 12th century architecture, was converted into a museum in the 18th century and first opened for public in 1793. Most of the collections today are attributed to the Napoleon's armies who brought these from the lands they captured. Later many more were added by private donations.

 My sons were too enthusiastic to preserve the time spent in Louvre amid its sculpture

 Finally I also got a chance to be clicked while resting on the hallway stairs, leading to the Nike of Samothrace
 The Nike of Samothrace (winged Victory), marble, circa 190 BC

The Nike of Samothrace (or Winged Victory) - above, depicts the Greek goddess of Victory as if soaring to new heights. Astounding in its expressive quality, it is considered a Hellenistic tour de force. Why it is headless - well I could not find an answer to it. But its massiveness leaves an onlooker in complete awe and spellbound.

Antonio Canova's Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss 

This huge white marble, Canova recalls the vivid the mythical love story of Cupid and Psyche. As the story unfolds, beautiful Psyche, who has fallen asleep having been tricked by jealous Venus, is seen here being revived by equally handsome Cupid. Shortly thereafter, she drinks ambrosia so that they can be together as gods. This sculpture is a gorgeous rendition of true love. 

Most of the renovations to the museum are attributed to the Napoleon III and until recently by the French president Mitterrand. The glass pyramid was added by Mitterrand's Grand Louvre project - the glass pyramid being its major part built in 1993. The project also included the Richelieu wing into the museum.

The tour continues with each sculpture and artifact revealing a history of its own!!

 Rebellious Slave (left) and the the Dying Slave (right) by Michelangelo (1513-1516)

Michelangelo was of the view that inside every block of marble was a sculpture to “set free.” Whether a struggle in stone, in the flesh, or in existential terms. This is what Michelangelo has tried to show to the world in this one of his masterpieces.

White Greek marble Statues `Satyres de Atlante` in the Salle du Manège room - Ground Floor (Denon Wing)

But what about Mona Lisa? Well she is there among some of the priceless paintings in the paintings section and including here portrait here at the end would be injustice to this immortal painting, revered the world over. So after visiting the sculptures, we headed towards the paintings section to see Mona Lisa 'in person.' 

Going into the hallway studded with paintings of some of the renowned painters of the world - finally to culminate in the hall where Mona Lisa waited for us!!

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