The Louvre (Paris)

London & Paris Day 6 Part 3 (Click here to return to the London & Paris Travelogue)
- The Louvre

If you missed any of the parts
Click here for Day 6 Part 1 - Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris & Point Zero
Click here for Day 6 Part 2 - Lunch @ Relais du Pont Neuf (Paris)
Click here for Day 6 Part 4 - Bouillon Chartier

After having lunch at Relais du Pont Neuf, my family and I walked to the Louvre. Beware of Romanian gypsies in this area as this is one of their hot spots. Occasionally, one might find people with a piece of paper on a cardboard asking to sign something like a petition for the deaf and mute society. However, they would demand for money after you have signed their paper. Ignore them at all cost as we have seen them speaking to one another. Fortunately, we were well informed of the scams. Click here to learn more about Paris scams!  Ignoring the scams of Paris, the Louvre is a beautiful place!
The Louvre Main Entrance
With more than 9.7 million visitors each year, the Louvre is the world's most famous museum. It houses some of the most celebrated works such as the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and Venus de Milo. The museum is actually housed in a Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century to defend the Paris (the largest city in Europe at that time). In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre Museum to display the royal collection.  The museum boast a collection of over 380000 works of art, of which 35000 are on display. Spread out over three wings of the former palace, the museum has divided it's work of art into eight curatorial departments.
- Egyptian antiquities
- Near Eastern antiquities
- Greek, Etruscan, and Roman
- Islamic art
- Sculpture
- Decorative arts
- Painting
- Prints and drawings.

Before visiting the Louvre, consider downloading Rick Steve's podcast or his handphone application for a informative and highly readable introduction to the Lourve. Rick's explanation for the art work are simple and amusing, allowing Art Novices like me to understand the stories behind the paintings. You may enter the museum from the main entrance through the glass pyramid which is the most spectacular. However, it is also the most crowded. You could skip the lines by using the Paris Museum Pass (2-day pass: €42) which includes entry to various museums and attractions around Paris! Alternatively, you could enter the Museum from the Metro stop: Palais Royal if you have your ticket before hand. Remember to buy your ticket online from FNAC or Ticketnet to avoid the long ticketing queues! Tickets cost €12 for an adult while visitors under the age of 18 are admitted for free. You could also visit the museum on the first Sunday of the month for free! For more ticketing information, click here.

Important tips:
1. Visit the Louvre during evening hours (Wednesday and Friday nights) but take note that not all the wings will be opened. This way, you will be able to spend your daytime on other attractions.
2. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.

Photography is permitted in the interior of the Louvre. Quick, go and do a selfie with Mona Lisa! I will briefly share some of the highlights of the Louvre.


The Mona Lisa


The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been acclaimed as the "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work in the world (Lichfield, 2005). The Mona Lisa has survived more than 500 years thanks to a variety of conservation treatments. It is said that her gaze is fixed on the observer and seems to welcome them to this silent communication.
The Mona Lisa
As you can see here, the painting is displayed in a purpose-built, climate-controlled enclosure behind bulletproof glass. The gallery where the painting now resides was financed by the Japanese broadcaster Nippon Television. Be prepared to squeeze to the front! You probably need a minute or two before you can get to the front of the crowd for a clear picture of the Mona Lisa. Watch out for pickpockets as they are known to appreciate art.
The Mona Lisa in the Salle des Etats gallery


Winged Victory of Samothrace


The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace is a 2nd century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory). It has been housed in the Louvre since 1884. Despite its significant damage and incompleteness, the Victory is held to be one of the greatest surviving masterpieces of sculpture from the Hellenistic period (Between 146 BC to 323 BCB).

According the art historian H.W. Jason (1995), Nike creates a deliberate relationship to the imaginary space around the goddess. The wind that has carried her and which she is fighting off, straining to keep steady - as mentioned the original mounting had her standing on a ship's prow, just having landed - is the invisible complement of the figure and the viewer is made to imagine it. At the same time, this expanded space heightens the symbolic force of the work; the wind and the sea are suggested as metaphors of struggle, destiny and divine help or grace.

With the aided assessment, we start to understand the artist's point of view.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, Ground floor, Denon Wing


Venus de Milo


A hilarious encounter I had was watching a conversations between a male Japanese tourist and a female museum worker. The male Japanese tourist asked the female museum worker where was Venus de Milo. The female museum worker said, "Yes, I am Venus". Unfortunately, the Japanese tourist did not catch the joke and was eventually directed to Venus de Milo. To further elaborate, Venus is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sexy, fertility and prosperity. Venus de Milo was discovered in 1820 on the island of Melos (Milo in modern Greek) in the south-western Cyclades, Greece.

According to Marie-Bénédicte Astier's assessment, the goddess is shrouded in mystery, her attitude a persistent enigma. The missing pieces of marble and absence of attributes made the restoration and identification of the statue difficult. A whole range of positions have been suggested: leaning against a pillar, resting her elbow on Ares' shoulder, or holding a variety of attributes. According to whether she held a bow or an amphora, she was Artemis or a Danaid. She is popularly thought to represent Aphrodite, because of her half-nakedness and her sensual, feminine curves. She may have held an apple — an allusion to the Judgement of Paris — a crown, a shield, or a mirror in which she admired her reflection. However she might also be the sea goddess Amphitrite, who was venerated on the island of Milo.
Venus de Milo, Room 7, Parthenon room, Ground floor, Sully wing



Many other amazing art works!


The children in Paris are so fortunate to have school outings to the best museums in the world! Remember to look up as the building itself is an art work. 
 
Titian, Supper at Emmaus

The Wedding Feast at Cana

 
Virgin and Child with St. Anne (left) painted by Lenardo da Vinci depiciting St Anne, her daughter the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus.
Be sure to visit the Galerie d'Apollon (right) which is part of the Louvre, famous for its high vaulted ceilings with painted decorations.

A day well spent at the Louvre. I hope you will have an enjoyable day and my blog post would be of some use to you. Feel free to leave a comment to help improve on this write up. Thank you!

What you need to know:
- Beware of Romanian gypsies in this area as this is one of their hot spots. Click here to learn more about Paris scams!
- Consider downloading Rick Steve's podcast or his handphone application for a highly informative and highly readable introduction to the Lourve.
- Visit the Louvre during evening hours (Wednesday and Friday nights) but take note that not all the wings are open. This way, you will be able to spend your day on other attractions.
- The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.
-You can skip the lines by using the Paris Museum Pass (2-day pass: €42) which includes entry to various museums and attractions around Paris! Alternatively, you could enter the Museum from the Metro stop: Palais Royal if you have your ticket before hand.

(Click here to return to the London & Paris Travelogue)

Click here for Day 6 Part 1 - Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris & Point Zero
Click here for Day 6 Part 2 - Lunch @ Relais du Pont Neuf (Paris)
Click here for Day 6 Part 4 - Bouillon Chartier
 
Here is the map for Day 6 of my London & Paris Trip.

References:
- Janson, H.W. (1995) History of Art. 5th edition. Revised and expanded by Anthony F. Janson. London: Thames & Hudson, pp. 157-158. ISBN 0500237018- Lichfield. J (2005), The Moving of the Mona Lisa, The Independent. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
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About Haoming Koo

Koo Haoming. Founder of The Fat Chemist. Currently an undergrad at the National University of Singapore with a burning passion for science! Inspired to start a blog after reading the book, "Napoleon's Buttons, How 17 Molecules Changed History". The book fills the gap between Chemistry and History. Adapting the style of the book, posts written by me highlight the chemistry in the food we eat.
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