Louvre Museum

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The Louvre, is one of the most famous art museums in the world and at the same time the largest one. It is located in the western centre of Paris and it has been one of city’s dominants since 12th century.

Firstly it was fortress of the early days built for Philip Augustus in 1190, and then it was transformed into modernized dwelling of Francois I (the original building was torn down and the new one was built), later it became palace of King Louis XIV. The museum has occupied the building since 8 November 1793.

The palace is one of the largest in the world and it exemplifies traditional French architecture since the renaissance.

The present-day entrance – the glass pyramid built in the county yard of the historical buildings was opened in 1989. It was commissioned by French president Francois Mitterrand and designed by Ioeh Ming Pei. Its height is 20,6 metres and each of the triangle bases is 35 metres long. There are three smaller pyramids around the big one that is edged by fountains. Although this work of art itself is magnificent, it is quite controversial because of its modern design placed in the surrounding of historical palace.

The first opened museum housed former royal collections of painting and sculpture. It was enlarged by purchases and gifts, as well as archeological finds and more and more specialized divisions were created. The present museum is divided into Oriental (ancient Mesopotamian) antiquities; Egyptian antiquities; Greek and Roman antiquities; it contains sculpture from the Middle Ages to modern times; furniture and objects d'art as well as paintings representing all the European schools. A section of the museum is devoted to Islamic art.

To the most famous exhibited works in present Louvre belong paintings Pietà of Avignon, Veronese's immense Wedding at Cana and of cource Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Other outstanding later works are for example two marble Slaves by Michelangelo, the treasure of the abbey of St. Denis, and the French crown diamonds. The most famous ancient works are statuette of the Sumerian ruler Gudea, a stele bearing Hammurabi's code, an Egyptian painted stone statue of a scribe sitting cross-legged and of course the Venus de Milo, and the Victory of Samothrace.

Due to the novel of Dan Brown, Louvre became the most visited monument in Paris during the year 2005, with more than 7 million visitors.
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