Among the 30.000 artworks exhibited in the Louvre museum, you obviously know the most famous. The Mona Lisa, the Milos Aphrodite (also known as the Venus de Milo), the Raft of the Medusa… and so many more familiar names. However, many other marvelous masterpieces await you in the largest museum in the world awaiting discovery. In addition to our corporate scavenger hunt in the Louvre, showing various quirky pieces of the museum, here is a list of seven original works of art in the Louvre!
Around -1300: the statue of the queen Napirasu, the heaviest of the original works of art in the Louvre
Our adventure begins in southwestern Iran where the ancient kingdom of Elam once flourished. One of its rulers, Untash-Napirisha, built the city of Dur-Untash of which you can admire some remains in the Louvre. A headless statue of his wife, Queen Napirasu, also rests in this space. Examine the picture below: the outer layer of the work is composed of copper and tin, nothing extraordinary. But instead of dirt in the inner layer, the statue is filled with bronze! The result? A marvel of metal weighing 1750 kilograms (3858 lbs), and witness to the opulence of this Elamite dynasty! When you visit Napirasu, don’t hesitate to salute the oldest statue in the Louvre exhibited in the adjoining room.
Around -600 to 100: toys in Ancient Greece
Admiring the daily objects from ancient civilization is fascinating! Especially with such treasures as these terracotta toys found in children’s tombs, or Artemis’ sanctuaries (usually offered to the goddess by girls on the eve of their wedding). In the Louvre, you will find these and more poignant artifacts. On the programme: examine such pieces as the baby dolls with articulated limbs and a pregnant woman with a hollow belly that once carried a baby figurine. Or the unique sidesaddle rider, or a warrior and a bullock on four wheels that complete this fun collection. Finally, do not hesitate to see the cute little ceramics that were offered to kids during the Anthesterias, the Athenian festivals dedicated to the god of wine: Dionysos. A kind of greek Christmas!
Find these original works of art in the Louvre: Sully wing – 1st floor – Room 647
Around 500-700: the monastery of Bawit reconstituted in the Louvre
When we think about Egypt, we imagine the pyramids, hieroglyphs, and gods of this country. However, Egyptian history succeeding in the pagan period is also really interesting and often overlooked. In the Coptic section, examine beautifully preserved textile pieces, or the finely crafted jewelry and the ruins of the monastery of Bawit that await you. This place of worship was founded in the 4th century, had a period of prosperity and then was abandoned in the 12th century. You can now admire its restitution at the Louvre. Contemplate the delicacy of the capitals’ decoration and the timber framing that was fortunately preserved. You will also be a privileged person, wandering quietly and peacefully without any tourists as if you were an adventurer rediscovering a forgotten monastery…
Admire the monastery in the Louvre: Denon wing, Floor -2, room 275
Around 1100-1200: the lion of Monzón, other original works of art in the Louvre
Islamic art in the Iberian Peninsula is among the most refined. Go through the Alhambra and discover the isolated artifacts that testify to their elegance. In the rooms dedicated to Islamic art, an astonishing small cast bronze lion will catch your attention. Don’t miss the feline that once adorned a fountain (Monzon de Palencia, Spain, northwest Castile). The water flowed from a pipe under the animal’s belly and gushed out its gaping mouth. Another not to be missed wonder: the lion has a rare retractable tail and arabesque patterns- incredibly unique!. In between the volutes (the spiral architecture often found in iconic capitals) we make out an inscription in Arabic: Baraka kamila/Na’ima shamila. This sentence brings good luck to whoever passes by. What an additional motivation to discover the artwork! You’ll be lucky just visiting it!
Around 1480: the impressive tomb of Philippe Pot
Among the many original works of art in the Louvre, be sure to admire the tomb of Philippe Pot. This burgundy nobleman ordered during his tomb during his lifetime, which is quite worthy of his position… and what a tomb! See the procession of hooded men, reminiscent of the procession for the Dukes of Burgundy’s funeral. In this case, the mourners carry the recumbent statue. The scene’s heavy emotions are reinforced by the anguished expressions of the men. Under the hoods, their suffering faces peer out. The drama of death answers the haughtiness of the deceased. As was the custom, this lord is wearing his armor, while the coat of arms shows his prestigious lineage. An out of the ordinary masterpiece uniting the tragedy of human condition and the grandeur of a man.
Around 1530, an intriguing statue: “la Mort Saint-Innocent”
Not far from Philippe Pot’s tomb stands an alabaster statue as terrifying as it is mysterious. View the representation of death that once resided in the Parisian defunct cemetery called Holy Innocents’ Cemetery. Dare to face him and confront the terrible crooked smile. Have the courage to see his decomposing corpse and his raised right arm, whose hand once held a threatening spear. Finally, read the quatrain on his shield encouraging you to “pray to God for the dead”… After the cemetery destruction in 1786, this statue was moved to Saint-Gervais, then to Notre Dame cathedral and finally to the museum of French Monuments. This artwork is enduring and reflects that only Death is immortal…
Around 1555, an astonishing painting: David and Goliath by Daniele da Volterra
For the last piece of our selection of original works of art in the Louvre, we introduce you to an astonishing masterpiece on canvas. This painting was realized by a near relation of Michelangelo, Daniele da Volterra. The latter was asked by the pope to cover the figures’ genitals with loincloths, as it was considered as indecent and not appropriate for display in the Sistine Chapel. Later, he was bestowed the title of Il Braghettone (“the breeches maker”). However, the artwork that interests us is the one illustrating the struggle of David and Goliath. This special painting represents both sides of the same subject from a different angle. To achieve it, the artists designed a terracotta model which, unfortunately, lost to time. But, when facing David and Goliath, don’t deny yourself the comparison between the two sides of the painting, to point out the inconsistencies between the front and the back!
Discover this masterpiece in the Louvre: Denon wing – 1st floor – “Grande Galerie”
We just introduced to you seven marvelous masterpieces of the Louvre, among the myriad of other pieces that the museum owns, and now it’s time to see them yourselves. Let Booster2Success help create time to visit and admire these original works of art in the Louvre, a museum which is a continuous source of amazement and surprises.
Photo credit: Booster2Success
Booster2Success organizes corporate scavenger hunt in different districts of Paris and museums.
CONTACT US to organize an event in Paris.