The Louvre museum has everything from richly decorated Renaissance rooms to modern architecture. The works of art in the museum are as varied as the architecture of the building. From Greek statues to Egyptian mummies, paintings from the 13th to the 19th century and Islamic art.
There’s something to see for everyone. Way too much for one day. That’s why it’s wise to consider which parts you want to view before you visit the Louvre and which you’ll save for another time. To give you an idea, we give you an overview of all the museum’s collections to help you prepare for your Louvre visit.
Permanent collection Louvre museum
- Paintings from the 13th century to 1848.
The Louvre has been displaying paintings for over 300 years. Pictures of European painters form a large part of the Louvre collection. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the most famous work in this collection. Other Italian artists, such as Michelangelo and Raphael, are also well represented. All in all, there are around 8000 paintings available for you to marvel at.
Are you looking for paintings from after 1848? You can find them in Musee d’Orsay.
- Sculptures Louvre
The Louvre museum has numerous sculptures from the Middle Ages and Renaissance as well as from modern times. The statues are gathered in two places in the museum. The works made by foreign artists can mainly be found on the ground floor of the Denon wing. The French collection can be located in the Richelieu wing on the ground floor.
- Islamic art
The most modern extension of the Louvre museum houses the collection of Islamic art. Some 3000 works are displayed in this contemporary part of the Richelieu wing. The works of art are from the 7th century AD to the early 19th century, including glassware, paintings, carpets and handwritten books from various Islamic cultures.
- Decorative arts
Decorative art is the collective name for the art that (often) has a proper function. Think jewellery, carpets, glassware and furniture. An enormously broad genre has resulted in an equally varied collection from different cultures, ranging from the medieval era to halfway through the 19th century.
- Greek and Roman Antiquity / Classical era
The section with treasures from Greek and Roman antiquity/classical times has been in the Louvre museum since its inception. Hundreds of marble statues, archaeological treasures, jewellery, art and other objects originate from all over the Mediterranean. From Italy to North Africa and from the 4th century BC to 600 AD. The most famous work in this collection is the 2000-year-old statue, Venus de Milo.
- Drawings and printing
The Louvre has an extensive collection of graphic art, including drawings, manuscripts, books, lithography, miniatures, woodcarvings and engraved plates. Due to their fragile nature, most works are kept in a particular library. During exhibitions, you can see the pieces for a maximum of 3 months, after which they are put back in their protected environment. That is why this department often has temporary exhibitions covering one single subject, such as work from a specific country. These exhibitions together show an image of the Louvre museum’s wide range.
- Egypt antiquity collection
The Egyptian collections show excavations and art from 4000 BC to the 4th century AD. Although the vast exhibition is mainly displayed in rooms 1 to 30, several rooms in other parts of the Louvre museum also have pieces. From complete mummies to figurines, games from long ago, utensils and paintings.
- Pavillon de l’Horloge, history of the Louvre
The Pavillon de l’Horloge (clock pavilion) is a famous pavilion built in the 17th century. Today there is a new section that tells the story of the history of the Louvre itself. Through photography, works of art, video and interactive models, you go from the medieval fortress via the Parisian city palace to the museum’s future plans.
- ‘Pavillon des Sessions’, primitive art
For several years, the Pavillon des Sessions has had a section full of ‘primitive art’. In this case, that means ethnographic (folk) art from outside Europe. This department is an annexe of the Musée du Quai Branly.
- Tuileries and Carousel Gardens
Around the Louvre is about 30 hectares of garden. Not just any garden but a masterpiece of garden art. The Tuileries and the Carousel Gardens are the most famous, and you can walk around without a ticket. In addition to being a stellar place to wander or relax, the gardens are also small museums in their own right. You will find hundreds of statues and vases among the greenery. The gardens are the ideal place to take a break during your visit to the Louvre museum. After all, with your ticket, you can re-enter the building on the same day. Something you only want to do in quiet times when the queues are short.
Temporary exhibitions Louvre museum
In addition to the enormous permanent collection, the Louvre museum also has temporary exhibitions. These art exhibitions usually appeal to people who’ve seen the permanent exhibition or are interested in the exhibition’s themes.
François I and Dutch Art – An excellent exhibition, especially for the Dutch who plan a city trip in the fall or winter. The display shows the art made during the reign of the medieval French King Francis I by Dutch artists who settled in France.