Visiting Paris and ignoring the Louvre museum is just unforgivable. There you’ll find masterpieces and famous statues of different periods worth taking a look at least once in a lifetime. We’ve tried to choose the top 10 things to see in the Louvre museum, including most famous statues. Keeping in mind that there are about 35000 art objects presented it was not that easy.
In order not to be overwhelmed with what to see at the Louvre museum, check this list of TOP 12 must-sees, including famous paintings, sculptures, statues and other artworks.
The Louvre Museum Must-See Arts
Depending on your preferences, in the Louvre museum it’s possible to find masterpieces typical for different eras, made in different styles and by different schools of art, granted to museum or bought like Borghese collection.
Some of works like Mona Lisa or Winged Victory of Samothrace needs no introduction, while other are less known to public, but worth exploring.
Check Richelieu wing
For example, you can choose to explore Richelieu wing, where during one hour will find a lot of art hidden gems. Bronze cast lion, classical art objects, Milo of Croton from Royal Collection, very old statues that date back centuries BC. Ground floor of this wing is also a place where French sculpture collection is based.
And if you’re interested in arts of Africa, Oceania and Asia, go ahead to Pavillon des Sessions where you can find famous Moai statue from Easter island.
For all Renaissance Art Fans
If you want to enjoy the art of Renaissance period include Salle des Caryatides in your itinerary in Sully wing. If you respect Moliere, then you will be curious to know that he was presented to the king Louis XIV in these rooms.
Nowadays, there are many mythological heroes statues and Roman sculptures made from marble that are actually high quality copies of Greek ones that were made from bronze. Among the first Roman sculptures was Roman goddess Diana de Versailles, dated back to second century.
Napoleon Bonaparte also made a great contribution to the expansion of Louvre’s collection. He bought 344 antiquities from Borghese collection, making some really unique pieces of art available for public.
1 The Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa is by far the most famous painting in the Louvre museum, and well-known all over the world. This masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci is a must-see for any art lover or traveler. This painting’s dimensions are 77 x 53 cm, but it was placed in the biggest room in the museum (the Salle des États).
Throughout the history, since the creation of this picture there were always many people who admired it. It was Francois I who bought this work in 1518 and nowadays it is the first on the list of must see famous artworks in musée du Louvre.
Being written not on canvas but simply on the piece of poplar wood, The Mona Lisa also known as La Gioconda requires special conservation conditions. As this is the most popular masterpiece and every visitor wants to see it, it’s always very crowded in the room. For a better experience, it’s a great idea to check what is the best time to visit the Louvre museum.
Also, you can buy a skip-the-line ticket with guidance to Mona Lisa. Click here to make your reservation.
- Room 711, Denon wing, Level 1
2 The Venus de Milo
The Venus de Milo is another must-see masterpiece in the Louvre. This ancient Greek sculpture is one of the most famous statues and admired works of art in the world. It was found in 1820 in Milos – Greek island.
Statue depicts the female figure with missing arms above the elbow. Such a distinctive feature made it one of the most famous sculptures in the world.
Upon arrival at the Louvre museum, it was discussed that the hands of the statue should be restored. But then specialists agreed that it can negatively influence this art object so the decision was made to leave it as it is.
It’s interesting to note that after her arrival to the Louvre The Venus de Milo statue was moved to different places inside the museum with the idea to find the best location for it. Now Venus de Milo is standing almost alone in the center of the exhibition hall.
- Room 344, Sully wing, Level 0
3 The Winged Victory of Samothrace Statue
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is Hellenistic art statue that was created in the second century BC. It is a masterpiece from ancient Greece that is known for its intricate details and stunning beauty typical for Greek goddess. Winged victory marble statue is on our list of things to see in the Louvre.
Winged victory of Samothrace was created as a tribute to the gods of the Greek island Samothrace. The Daru staircase was chosen to accommodate this unusual and outstanding sculpture of headless woman whose outfit emphasizes female form.
- Room 703 (Daru staircase), Denon wing, Level 1
4 The Raft of the Medusa
The Raft of the Medusa is a painting by Théodore Géricault that was completed in 1819. This painting is based on a true event that occurred in 1816, when the French ship Medusa ran aground and sank.
The painting is a masterpiece that tells the story of the tragedy in a powerful and emotional manner. What’s remarkable is that such a choice of plot chosen by the artist was not typical for that period of time.
This artwork is on our list of things to see in the Louvre museum because it has political overtones. The captain of the ship didn’t have essential experience but was very close to the monarchy family, that’s how he got this captain’s position.
- Room 700, Denon wing, Level 1
5 Liberty Leading the People
The painting Liberty Leading the People is a masterpiece by Eugène Delacroix that was completed in 1830.
It is a painting that celebrates the Revolution, and it is considered to be one of the most important paintings in French history, representing the struggle for freedom. Woman carrying the flag of the French Republic is half goddess, half representative of the common French people.
This painting is one of the well-known works of Delacroix.
- Room 700 (Salle Mollien), Denon wing, Level 1
6 The Wedding Feast at Cana
The Wedding Feast at Cana is a painting by Paolo Veronese that was completed in 1562. This painting is the largest one in the Louvre, being 10 meters wide and 6 meters high. The painting depicts a scene from the Bible in which Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding feast.
Being confiscated by Napoleon, this artwork must be returned to Italy in 1815. But, taking into consideration painting sizes, there were concerns that it can be damaged during the transportation process.
- Room 711 (Salle des États), Denon wing, Level 1
7 The Intervention of the Sabine Women
The Sabine Women is a painting by Jacques-Louis David that was completed in 1799. This painting is a must-see for any art lover visiting the Louvre, as it is one of the most famous and important paintings. The painting depicts a scene from the Bible in which the Sabine women are abducted by the Romans.
- SALLE 702 AILE DENON, NIVEAU 1
8 The Coronation of Napoleon
The Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I is a painting by Jacques-Louis David (emperor official painter) that was completed in 1804.
This painting is a must-see for any art lover visiting the Louvre, as it is one of the most famous and important paintings in the museum. The painting depicts the coronation of Napoleon as the first emperor of France in Notre Dame de Paris.
9 Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by Antonio Canova
If you’re visiting Denong wing room, stop near Psyche revived by Cupid’s kiss – famous Neoclassical sculpture by Antonio Canova. There is a story behind this legendary lovers embodied in a white marble statue.
Cupid’s kiss made Psyche revived after a deep sleep because of the poison she drunk from the jar.
Antonio Canova famous sculptures were available in two versions, one is presented in the Louvre museum while another is in Hermitage (Saint Peterburg).
10 Dying slave and Rebellious slave by Michelangelo
Art world recognized Michelangelo as great sculptor. There is even Michelangelo gallery in the Louvre museum with Italian sculpture masterpieces artist created that are available for public. Among many famous sculptures, would like to highlight Dying slave and Rebellious slave.
These famous statues were from the project of pope Julius ii’s tomb. Pope Julius ii wanted to build the tomb for himself. To realize very ambitous project he entrusted to Michelangelo.
Slaves statues became Louvre exhibits only in 1794, after they were taken from cardinal’s house during French revolution.
11 Great Sphinx of Tanis
Last but not the least is Great sphinx of Tanis – one of the ancient sculptures made from solid granite block in ancient Egypt from 4th to 12th dynasty. The exact time, when it was constructed is unknown.
This statue was placed in Amun-Ra Temple, Egypt where it was unearthed as well as the remains of the temple itself.
The Louvre museum bought this must-see masterpiece in 1826. As with many other pieces of art, it took a long time, before the appropriate place for Sphinx of Tanis was found. In mid-1930s, Louvre architect Albert Ferran built the crypt, where you can find this impressive art work.
12 Saint Mary Magdalene
If you decided to explore Denon Wing, pay attention to Saint Mary Magdalene – beautiful painted wooden sculpture. It arrived in the museum in 1902, but was created for one the churches in Germany. The only thing that covers nudity is long hair.