The Louvre Museum Paris, in all its glory, represents the evolution of French culture. The Louvre Abu Dhabi, located on the banks of the Seine, is a sprawling structure that has stood tall for centuries and witnessed both war and peace. Because of its sheer size and extraordinary collection, it has left generations of viewers in awe. Continue reading to learn some fascinating facts about the museum. Here are some of the 10 surprising facts about the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum:
10 Surprising Facts about the Louvre Museum
1. The Louvre is the world’s most-visited art museum
The Louvre is the world’s most visited museum, followed by the National Museum of China, London’s Tate Modern, and the Vatican Museums. It surpassed the 10 million visitor mark in 2018 and became the most-visited museum in the world. Attendance at the Louvre dropped by 72 per cent from the previous year. Despite this, the Louvre continues to attract millions of visitors and is the most visited Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum Tour in the world, with approximately 15,000 visitors per day.
2. The Louvre’s Galleries Cover More Than 15 Acres
The Louvre is not only the world’s most visited museum, but also its largest. The Louvre was first erected as a castle in 1190 and was restored as a royal palace in the 16th century. During its time as a royal home, the Louvre developed considerably. The Louvre presently has a total museum area of 652,300 square feet. This makes sense because it would be impossible to house its amazing collection of 480,000 pieces of artwork elsewhere.
3. The Louvre was formerly a fortress
The Louvre’s history dates back to 1190, when King Phillip II of France built it as a fortress to safeguard the city from invaders. The castle was completed in 1202, and King Charles V made the Louvre his royal home in the 14th century. The Louvre Museum was founded amid the turmoil and violence of the French Revolution. After Louis XVI was sent in prison, the royal collection was declared national property.The Louvre opened to the public in 1793 as the Museum central des arts de la République. The museum’s collection at the time included 537 paintings and 184 objects of art.
4. For 11 years, the Louvre was named after Napoleon
The Louvre was renamed Musée Napoléon in 1803, and the name remained until 1814. The renaming was influenced by Napoleon III’s expansion project. With his conquests, the Louvre’s collection grew exponentially, necessitating the need to expand the space available to display these treasures. When Napoleon abdicated in 1815, nearly 5,000 works of art were returned to their countries of origin. One of the most significant stolen works is “The Wedding at Cana” by Veronese, which is still on display in the Louvre.
5. The Mona Lisa was captured in 1911
Vincenzo Perugia, an Italian handyman, stole the masterpiece from the Louvre on August 21, 1911. The painting, which had not yet captured the attention of millions, was suddenly brought to everyone’s attention. Images of the artwork appeared in international newspapers, and the artist eventually became well known. For two years, as Mona Lisa rose to fame, she was kept in the dark. Even Pablo Picasso was considered a suspect until the glazier attempted to sell the painting to an Italian art dealer, who notified authorities. The Mona Lisa was found, and by the time she returned home, she had become the world’s most famous painting.
6. Throughout World War II, the Louvre was deserted
Hitler’s army began systematic plundering of artworks from museums and private art collections as soon as the conquests began. Jacques Jaujard, the assistant director of the French National Museums, predicted that the Louvre would need to be safeguarded. Ten days before the declaration of war, the president ordered that 3,690 paintings, sculptures, and works of art be wrapped, boxed, and transported to safe locations. Despite the fact that it was a massive undertaking given the risks involved, Jaujard managed to pull it off.
Between August and December 1939, two hundred trucks transported the Louvre’s treasures in nearly 1,900 boxes. A curator was assigned to each track. 40 museums were destroyed or severely damaged during the German invasion of France. However, when the Nazis arrived at the Louvre, they were met with empty frames. As you read this, do you wish you could see the Louvre in person? Get your Abu Dhabi Louvre tickets right away.
7. “Mona Lisa is smiling”: Coded Messages Used to Communicate with Allies
Several times during the war, the artwork was relocated. When the Allies arrived in France, Jaujard sent a coded message over the BBC radio (“La Joconde a le sourire,” which translates as “The Mona Lisa is smiling”) to inform them of the coordinates so they wouldn’t be bombed. They even erected massive “Musée du Louvre” signs on the grounds of castles so that pilots could see them from above. There was no damage or loss to the Louvre or any of the other two hundred museums.
By 1947, all of the dispersed artwork had been returned to the Louvre. The only remnants of this period in the Louvre’s history are bullet holes shot during the liberation of Paris while the museum’s courtyard was used as a prison for German soldiers. The second is an inscription of Jaujard’s name on the Louvre walls, near the Louvre School entrance. When walking towards the Tuileries Garden, you would notice it above the door.
8. Nazis Stole Art from the Louvre
According to Hitler’s orders, Jewish private property was to be confiscated. To that end, the ERR was formed, a task force dedicated to looting and destruction. The empty rooms of the Louvre presented an opportunity for the Nazis: a space to hold the artworks they were “safeguarding.” They commandeered three Louvre rooms for this purpose. Jaujard believed that this would aid in keeping track of the objects.
These Nazi-looted artworks are part of the Louvre’s collection, and in an effort to right historical wrongs, the museum has been working to return the works to their rightful owners. They’ve even put up a lot of artwork. However, since 1951, the Museum has only been able to return 50 such works of art and still has approximately 1,752 Nazi-looted artworks.
9. Sixty-six percent of the paintings in the Louvre are by French artists
Paintings constitute a significant portion of the Louvre’s collection. According to the most recent estimates, the museum’s iconic art gallery houses 7,500 paintings by artists from all over the world. The paintings are displayed in eight different departments. Furthermore, over 66% of these paintings were created by French artists. Some of the best-known French paintings to see include The Raft of the Medusa, Liberty Leading the People, and Napoleon’s Coronation.
10. The Louvre Has Five Pyramids
Few people realise that the iconic I. M. Pei Pyramid is not the only one at the Louvre. In fact, there are five pyramids in total at the Louvre. The small glass pyramids that surround the I.M. Pei pyramid are three of them. These three are positioned to create light shafts that highlight the museum’s collection. The Louvre Pyramide inversée (inverted pyramid) in the Carrousel du Louvre is the fifth pyramid.
The Louvre is the world’s largest museum, and it houses one of history’s most impressive art collections. In fact, it houses over 380,000 objects and approximately 35,000 works of art! It is the world’s largest museum, and the glass pyramid that marks the entrance has become a global symbol for priceless art. Every year, millions of tourists visit the museum, many of them hoping to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. Get Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum Tickets if you want to see amazing facts about the Louvre Museum in person.