The Louvre is the most famous art museum in the world. It also has the highest number of visitors annually. It is home to many great works of art that are historically significant in Western culture. It was originally built as a royal palace for King Philip II. The architecture is similar to the French Renaissance style of the famous architect Pierre Lescot. Its use as a place to display art began around the time of the French Revolution. The idea started from the Luxembourg Palace in Paris followed by the Louvre.
The Louvre originally collected works by either Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Sarto. Location extensions were commissioned because this required the Louvre to be expanded continuously. As France grew in strength and stature in the 17th century, it was able to acquire more and more possessions. Major works by Dutch artists were purchased for exhibition at the museum. Today, citizens' gifts are being added to the collection.
One of the main goals of the Louvre is to preserve and protect the French art treasure. This includes collections from the beginning of part of its history to recent acquisitions to the present. They want to reach as many people as possible the beauty of all these works. The museum borrows different works of art and from different institutions around the world.
It has partnerships with other major arts institutions. It was recently announced that the Louvre Museum would be built in Abu Dhabi and should be completed in 2012. It will house works from various French museums, including those from the Louvre.
The Louvre Pyramid is the main entrance of the museum. French President Francois Mitterrand has hired Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei to build a glass pyramid. This was one of the first renovations of the Grand Louvre Project.
The Louvre stores some of the best art collections in the world. There are eight departments which are as follows: Paintings, Graphics and Drawings, Decorative Arts, Sculptures, Islamic Art, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek and Roman Antiquities, and Middle Eastern Antiquities.
The museum has a collection of almost 12,000 paintings. Mona Lisa is one of the more prominent examples found in the museum. It is a 16th century portrait painted by Leonardo da Vinci. It is considered one of the most famous paintings in the world. The image is of an expressionless woman who has been the subject of countless discussions and debates. The painting has undergone numerous conservation treatments leading to its relatively excellent condition.
Other exhibits include sculptures, such as Venus de Milo. Also known as Aphrodite of Milos, it is an ancient Greek statue depicting Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty. It is made of marble, with the absence of hands or hands being quite pronounced on the sculpture.
In addition to the exhibits mentioned, others include engravings, drawings, books and archeology. In keeping with the times, the Louvre is constantly expanding and developing new areas in the museum.