I promised a Louvre story this week as the Friday Fact so let’s first get the fact out of the way and then I’ll tell my story. The Louvre was initially built as a palace and fortress in the 12th century. By the middle of the 1500s, a new building was erected on the site by King Francis I of France. In fact, this king was the one who obtained the Mona Lisa and some other Da Vinci paintings for his royal collection. In the latter 1500s, Catherine de Medici had the Tuileries palace (destroyed in1871) built which connected to the Louvre.
During the French Revolution, 1791 to be specific, a law was passed making the Louvre a museum for the people named the Musee Central des Arts. Napoleon added to the works of art there when he was in charge of France by looting the places he conquered and bringing their art to this museum (he changed the name to the Musee Napoleon). Some of the great pieces are sculptures- Roman, Greek and Egyptian. Nike or Victory, of Samothrace is one of the awesome statues there ( I did get a great look at it since it was at the top of a flight of stairs).
In the 1980s and 90s, the Louvre was expanded to include some underground areas. I.M.Pei designed the glass pyramid which is now the entrance. People hated it at first and it caused a lot of controversy but now it’s considered iconic and a Paris landmark.
My story involved the craziness of the place. It is over-run with tourists as is to be expected but it’s a weird group in there. The people seem to want to dash from one major piece of art to the other with no regard for the other items in the place. We could see them almost running from one to the next- looking at the map for the most famous pieces and taking a selfie then running to the next one.
My son asked me after about an hour how many people did I think were in that building who actually like art versus how many were there because they wanted to prove they’d seen Mona Lisa. I said there were probably 5 art lovers in the place.
About another hour later as I was studying the picture I’m going to post here and my son was at the picture next to it, this French lady came over to me and, in English, said, “I’ve been watching you and your son as well as the rest of this crowd and I think you, he and I are the only people in here who are looking at art and not running down the corridors not seeing anything.”
Talk about funny. I told her we’d already decided there were only 5 of us who like art in the place and she laughed and said she wondered where the other two were. LOL! How funny that we had the same thoughts.
When we eventually made it to the room where Mona was hanging out, you couldn’t get near her. My son fought the crowd and got up there but I stayed back and took a picture of the craziness. This was they way these people massed themselves at every major work. I couldn’t get near the statue of Psyche and Cupid either. I got a pretty good glimpse of it through the crowd but not like I would’ve liked.
Cupid and Psyche
Inside the pyramid
painting I was studying while lady watched me
The craziness of the Mona Lisa