Located along the Seine in the heart of Paris, the Louvre Museum is a must-see for travelers visiting France. But with 782,000 square feet of space boasting over 500 paintings and nearly 35,000 objects dating back to prehistoric eras, one could easily become overwhelmed by the museum’s endless offerings.
The top 10 paintings and sculptures you need to see in the Louvre in Paris, France
Sculptures by Michelangelo (di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni), circa 1513 CE
Michelangelo’s pair of masterworks, The Dying Slave and The Rebellious Slave are also found at the Louvre. Both works showcase chained, nude men. The sculptures pair the physical strength of a slave against their emotional vulnerability in a way that is moving and raw. The statues were created in 1513 by request for the tomb of Pope Julius II. Art historians theorize that the widely differing emotions on the slaves, one in deep sleep, the other in violent revolt, are meant to symbolize the internal human struggle between the soul and the physical body.
The Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I & Coronation of The Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris on 2 December 1804
Painting by Jacques-Louis David, 1806-1807 BCE
This one certainly wins the award for the longest title! Created between 1806-1807, the work was commissioned by Napoleon, who asked neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David to create this intricate painting to capture the grandeur of his coronation. The Coronation represented a departure from historical norms when Napoleon crowned himself while facing the congregation as opposed to allowing the then Pope to crown him. This move, meant to showcase Napoleon’s departure from the church’s authority, represents a massive scale, measuring 30 feet wide by 18 feet tall.
Crown Jewels Collection
While not often categorized as significant traditional or historical art, the French crown jewels are also housed at the Louvre, and represent a departure from the ordinary for many museum patrons. After all, how often do you get to come face to face with a 141-carat diamond? Apart from that stunner, named the Regent Diamond, the crown jewels collection also features the Couronne de Louis XV, Diademe de la Duchesse d’Angouleme, and the Couronne de I’lmperatrice Eugenie. The overwhelming collection includes diamonds, pearls, rubies, topaz, emeralds, and sapphires.