Famous Paintings in the Louvre That You Should Not Miss
The Louvre in Paris is the home of the Mona Lisa, perhaps the greatest painting ever created in human history. Aside from the Mona Lisa, you will also find several impeccable masterpieces by the most renowned European artists in history. Find on this page all the details you need to know about all the must-see Louvre paintings.
Overview of the Louvre Paintings
The Louvre collection has an impressive 5,500 paintings. Some of the stunning paintings on display are the creations of masters such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci. Most of the paintings displayed in the Louvre were created between the 13th and 19th centuries.
Some of the most famous Louvre paintings include the Raft of Medusa by Théodore Géricault, the Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David, the Death of the Virgin by Caravaggio, and Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix.Overview of the Louvre Collection
Where are the Paintings in the Louvre Museum?
The Louvre paintings are featured in various sections of the museum. The Mona Lisa and The Wedding at Cana are showcased in Salle des États, the largest room in the Louvre. Some well-known Italian paintings like The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist are displayed in the Grande Galerie.
Large paintings such as the Coronation of Napoleon can be seen in the Red Rooms. The Galerie Médicis is where you can see all the paintings Peter Paul Rubens made of Marie de Medici, who was once the Queen of France. To see the world's largest collection of drawings and pastel paintings, step into Rotonde Sully.Inside Louvre Museum
History of the Louvre Paintings
The Louvre was built in 1190 as a fortress on the banks of the River Seine. Later in the 16th century, it was remodeled as a Palace. In 1682, King Louis XIV moved into Versailles Palace, and the Louvre slowly became an important center of art and culture, hosting an array of events. In 1793, the National Assembly opened the Louvre as a museum displaying 573 paintings that were part of the royal collection. It was soon closed but reopened in 1801 by Napoleon and assumed the name Musée Napoléon. After Napoleon was abdicated in 1815, many of the artworks were returned to their owners. Under the reign of Louis XVIII and Charles X, the museum’s collection grew to include around 20,000 pieces. Over the next few years, the collection continued to grow substantially, and now the Louvre houses one of the largest collections of artworks in the world.Rea about the History of Louvre
Louvre Paintings | Highlights
Although all of the paintings at the Louvre Museum are worth taking a look at, here's a list of must-see masterpieces on your visit.
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Location: Denon Wing, Room 711
The Mona Lisa is arguably the most well-known painting in the world. Known as La Gioconda in Italian, the Mona Lisa was once stolen by a janitor and brought home to Italy after two years. Since that episode, the portrait made with oil on wood became a piece of curiosity. The subject of the painting is believed to be the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, an influential Florence Politician. Mona Lisa is a painting stirring occasional controversy on its origin and whether it is finished or not. Additionally, it is a national treasure in France because her Louvre enclave is bulletproof glass.More about the Mona Lisa
The Raft of Medusa
Artist: Théodore Géricault
Location: Dept of Paintings, Mollien Room 700
This 1819 painting gave little-known French artist Théodore Géricault National fame. A prime example of French Romanticism in art, The Raft of Medusa is often considered a superior masterpiece. The 16-feet tall oil painting depicts the French Navy frigate Medusa. The scene of the artwork is the 1816 shipwreck off the Mauritiana coast. The Raft of Medusa shows the emotions and drama of occupants in the ship, an amalgamation of fighting elements. The scene is filled with survivors, dead bodies, and an agonizing cry for help. The painting was acquired by the Louvre Museum shortly after the death of Théodore Géricault, at age 32.
The Wedding at Cana
Artist: Paolo Veronese
Location: Dept. of Paintings
The Wedding at Cana is a painting by Italian Renaissance painter Paolo Veronese. The painting depicts the scene in the Bible where Jesus turned water into red wine at a feast in the city of Cana. Veronese took the artistic freedom to create a different version of a marriage feast to accomplish this 6.77-meter-tall painting. Often hailed as a peak Renaissance artwork, The Wedding at Cana shows the brilliance of Veronese in using color palettes to perfection. Veronese, a student of the Venetian school of arts, adopted the Venetian style in creating this art piece.
The Coronation of Napoleon
Artist: Jacques-Louis David
Location: Dept. of Paintings, Daru Room 702
Jacques-Louis David's masterpiece, The Coronation of Napoleon, is a gigantic painting with a dimension of 20-feet x 32-feet. The artist was hired as the official painter of Napoleon Bonaparte. The stunning visual depicts the coronation of Napoleon at the Notre-Dame Church in Paris. The most important thing about this painting is the attention to detail. Everyone in the painting, including Pope Pius VII, gets immaculate detailing by the artist. The characters in the painting are depicted in a way they are all concentrating on Napoleon. It was believed that the artist took nearly three years to finish the artwork.
Liberty Leading the People
Artist: Eugène Delacroix
Location: Room 700, Denon Wing, Level 1
Eugène Delacroix painted the iconic Liberty Leading the People in 1831, commemorating the July Revolution that toppled King Charles X. The painting shows Liberty personified as a woman wearing a Phrygian cap, holding the French tricolor on her right hand, and a bayoneted musket on the other, leading a group of armed people. Eugène Delacroix is one of the pioneers of French Romanticism, and the painting itself is revered as a symbol of his art. The 260-centimeter-tall painting is oil on canvas.
Triumph of the Virtues
Artist: Andrea Mantegna
Location: Dept of Paintings, Room 371
Minerva Expelling the Vices from the Garden of Virtue, also known as Triumph of the Virtues, is a tempera on canvas painting by Italian artist Andrea Mantegna. Mantegna was another very important figure in Italian Renaissance art. The painting depicted the scene where Minerva, the Roman Goddess of Wisdom, chased away the Vices and rescued Diana, the Goddess of Chastity. The artwork was commissioned by Italian noblewoman Isabella d'Este and has the primary theme of medieval morality.
Death of the Virgin
Artist: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Location: Denon Wing, Room 710
This painting depicts the death of the Virgin Mary. The 369-centimeter-tall oil painting was the creation of Italian master painter Caravaggio. Caravaggio painted Virgin Mary as an ordinary woman in this painting and soon faced backlash from the Church. The artist, known for his Baroque elements in art, allegedly modeled the Virgin Mary after his mistress in Rome. The dazzling painting using the baroque style of lights and shadows portrays Mary Magdalene and the Apostles witnessing the death.
David with the Head of Goliath
Artist: Guido Reni
Location: Grande Galerie
Often an overlooked painting, David with the Head of Goliath by Guido Reni is a mix of Renaissance and Baroque styles. Depicting the Biblical tale of David and Goliath, this painting, oil on canvas, is 22-centimeters tall. David is portrayed as a beautiful, clear-skinned lad while the head of Goliath is huge with a long beard and hair. David is wearing colorful garb, and his stunning red hat has a long feather attached to it. A classicist artwork, Reni's painting shines a light on 17th-century idealism and classic beauty.
Dante and Virgil in Hell
Artist: Eugène Delacroix
Location: Room 700, Denon Wing, Level 1
The painting, Dante and Virgil in Hell, is also known as The Barque of Dante. It depicts events from Italian poet Dante's epic piece - Divine Comedy. Dante and Virgil in Hell was the first major painting of Eugène Delacroix. The scene shows Dante and ancient Roman poet Virgil crossing the river Styx tormented by souls in the City of the Dead. The painting was first exhibited in 1822 during the existence of the Salon, the official art exhibition of Paris. The painting was sold in 1822 and was shown in a Paris Museum. Later, in 1874, the art piece moved to the Louvre.
The Battle between Love and Chastity
Artist: Pietro Perugino
Location: Department of Paintings
The Battle between Love and Chastity is a Renaissance-era painting by Italian artist Pietro Perugino. Commissioned by Isabella d'Este, the painting depicts the fight between the personifications of Love and Chastity. The Tempera painting invited criticism for not following the style of Andrea Mantegna, one of the greatest Renaissance painters. Perugino's vision was to paint the Roman Goddesses Minerva, Diana, and Venus in his style. When he depicted Venus as a naked woman, Isabella objected. The Battle between Love and Chastity is exceptional because it helps us understand the moral values of the Renaissance period.
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Location: Denon Wing, Grand Galeriè
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne was commissioned by King Louis XII of France but never was delivered. It is believed that this Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece is still unfinished. The biblical theme shows Saint Anne with her daughter Virgin Mary, and the Infant Jesus. Jesus is coaxing a sacrificial lamb. The oil painting on wood is 51-inches tall. It is one of the most confusing paintings of Leonardo da Vinci because of its theme and possible hidden messages.
The Pastoral Concert
Location: Denon Wing, Room 711
The Pastoral Concert is a painting particularly noted for its Venetian characteristics. Painted by Italian Renaissance master Titian, the pastoral concert was painted to symbolize refuge from a series of battles in Italy. The art piece shows three young men in the Italian countryside playing music. Accompanying them are two naked women, one serving water from a marble basin and the other sitting on the lawn. The painting is noted for its unique color palette and naturalism. It was widely believed that the painter behind the pastoral concert was Giorgione. Later, researchers suggested Titian was the real artist.
The Rape of the Sabine Woman
Artist: Nicolas Poussin
Location: Richelieu Wing, Room 828
This painting is also known as The Abduction of the Sabine Women. The Rape of the Sabine Woman is on oil canvas and was created by French Baroque-style artist Nicolas Poussin. The painting depicts an episode from Roman mythology. Ancient Italic people known as Sabines were invited by the Romans for a feast. At the command of Roman leader Romulus, Roman men forcibly pounced upon the young women. The painting shows the gruesome ways Romans acted during their prime to retain power and enslave other cultures.
St. Francis of Assisi Receiving Stigmata
Artist: Giotto di Bondone
Year: 1295 -30
Location: Denon Wing, Room 708
Giotto di Bondone's byzantine painting St. Francis of Assisi Receiving Stigmata was painted for the Church of Saint Francis in Pisa. The 314-centimeter-tall painting depicts an episode from the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Created with tempera and gold on panel, the real painter behind St. Francis of Assisi Receiving Stigmata is still a matter of debate. Following the traditional Byzantine style, the painting is noted for the lack of emotion of characters and stiffness. It belonged to the church until Napoleon Bonaparte looted and moved the art pieces to France.
Other Collections at the Louvre
Aside from a remarkable collection of paintings, the Louvre Museum is also home to noteworthy sculptures, antiques, royal furniture, and other works of art. Don't miss out on a chance to discover one of the finest and largest collections of art. Visit the Louvre Museum today!
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Frequently Asked Questions About the Louvre Paintings
A. Arguably the most famous painting in the Louvre is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Other famous Louvre paintings include The Raft of Medusa, The Wedding at Cana, The Coronation of Napoleon, Liberty Leading the People, and many more.
A. Louvre has 7,500 paintings on display including the Mona Lisa.
A. Yes, the Louvre paintings are open for public viewing.
A. Louvre paintings are displayed in different sections of the museum. French and Northern European art pieces are showcased at Richelieu Wing and Cour Carrée, while the Spanish and Italian works can be seen on the first floor of Denon wing.
A. The Mona Lisa was valued at around $860 million in 2020.
A. Yes, all visitors above age 18 have to buy a ticket to see the Louvre paintings.
A. Tickets to the Louvre Museum start from €17.
A. Yes, you can opt for a guided tour of the museum where you can learn more about the Louvre paintings.
A. Yes, the Louvre is the most-visited museum in the world. It displays some of the greatest pieces of art in all human history.