Next thing on my Paris list after the Eiffel Tower (along with macaroons,eclairs and many other french pastries) was Louvre. I was so excited to go there to see all the artworks and masterpieces I have been reading about in person. If you have been following me for a while, you might know that I am obsessed with Dan Brown books. I think it was his books, that got me into art history and art in general. I love the way he describes paintings, sculptures, architecture and explains the symbolism and the history behind it. ( He also has some crazy fictional conspiracy ideas about the paintings but just interpret them in your own way) After reading Da Vinci Code, I could not wait to visit the Louvre and see the all the artworks from the book! I was so glad that the Louvre website had the Da Vinci trail.
The Louvre is one of the biggest and most visited museums in the world. It would take you 5 days if you wanted to finish everything. But you can go through it quickly within a day or so. But make sure you bring comfortable shoes, because it is a whole lot of walking! 60,000 square meters to be exact :D.
P.S. Buy tickets with fast passes online to save time. Believe me, standing in the queue for 2 hours was not fun. I went there when it opened at 10 o’clock and I still had to queue.
First up is my favourite, Napoleon 3rd’s apartment. It was so over-the-top luxurious, extravagant and just exceptionally beautiful.
I mean, just look at the size of his bed and dining table! Amazing…
The Infamous Mona Lisa or The Gioconda. Probably the most famous painting in the world. She was created in 1503-1505 and was a wife of a Florentine merchant. It was quite stressful to look at the painting because there were so many tourists, and everyone was trying to fit in a selfie. Oh the selfie era…
Mona Lisa is one of Da Vinci’s masterpieces but the real reason she is famous is due to her theft in 1911 and “adventures”. Apparently she had acid, a rock and even a Louvre souvenir cup thrown at her. That is why she rests under a bulletproof glass now.
In my eyes, it was a beautiful, technically well done masterpiece. The techniques of playing with light and shade gave the painting a very hazy, mysterious feel. Her gaze, her smile looked very mysterious and it was impossible to figure out if she was smiling, smirking or being sad.
And here is the painting I wanted to see the most. The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo Da Vinci. The Louvre houses 5 Leonardo Da vinci paintings along with the infamous Mona Lisa and 4 of them are located in the Le Grande Gallerie(picture above). There are 2 versions of this painting: the Louvre version, completed by Leonardo Da Vinci himself and the other version completed by him and his assistants, which is now at London’s National Gallery. There are 2 versions because the church’s bonus offered for the painting was not good enough, so Leonardo sold it to someone else and then he had to create a second one.
In the book, the author suggests that Mary holds in her left hand the invisible head of Mary Magdalene, whose neck is being symbolically sliced by the gesture of the Archangel Uriel, girl on the right. Leonardo was supposedly showing the Church’s conspiracy against Mary Magdalene (Holy Grail) but this is a very fictional, conspiracy like interpretation. For me this is just a beautiful painting of Mary, a high figure in the nature, with a graceful body language, which is common in High Renaissance paintings.
We were also so lucky to catch the Nike of Samothrace, the winged goddess of victory. It will be at the Louvre until June 2015, so hurry! P.S. The brand name Nike we all know well comes from this goddess.
Open everyday except Tuesday
Ticket Price: 12 Euro