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Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Louvre

The Louvre emerged as a medieval fortress built by Philip II of France in the 14th century located on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris.

Between 1360 and 1380, Charles V converted the Louvre Castle into a palace, known as the "joli Louvre" ("pretty Louvre").

In 1546, Francis I razed the structure in favor of a larger royal residence in French Renaissance style.

When Queen Catherine de Medici lived in the Louvre, certain rooms were said to be constructed with a network of listening tunnels, so that anything spoken in one room could be heard in another. That way the paranoid queen could scupper any plots against her.

During his reign (1589–1610), Henry IV created a link between the Palais des Tuileries and the Louvre. The link was completed via the Grande Galerie by architects Jacques II Androuet du Cerceau and Louis Métezeau. More than a quarter of a mile long and one hundred feet wide, this huge addition was built along the bank. of the Seine; at the time of its completion it was the longest building of its kind in the world.

Ballet is an invention of artists associated with the French court of Louis XIV. In 1661 a group of dancing masters asked the king to establish an authorized academy, and he responded by giving them a room in the Louvre for their use.

In 1682 Louis XIV abandoned the Louvre, and moved his court to Versailles to establish his independence from the Paris nobility.

The Louvre was converted into an Art Museum during the French Revolution with an exhibition of 537 paintings. It opened for the first time on August 10, 1793. Most of its exhibits at the time consisted of treasures confiscated from the royal family or the Church.

The Cour Carrée of the "Old Louvre" looking west. By King of Hearts - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia Commons

When Leonardo da Vinci's  painting, Mona Lisa, was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, people flocked to look at the blank space where it had hung. Two years later, it was discovered that former Louvre handyman Vincenzo Peruggia had stolen the artwork by hiding in a closet and walking out with it hidden under his coat after the museum had closed.

On average, visitors at the Louvre spend about 15 seconds viewing the Mona Lisa.

The Louvre has become the globe's most-visited museum, with 35,000 works of art dating from Antiquity to the early modern period. As well as the Mona Lisa, the museum's permanent collection includes masterpieces by European masters such as Rembrandt, Giambattista Pittoni, Caravaggio, Rubens, Titian and Eugène Delacroix.

It takes 2,000 employees to maintain The Lourve museum and its artwork, for its 8.8 million annual visitors.

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