Louvre Beginnings (03:31)
In 1119, King Philip II fortified Paris to protect against English invasion—constructing the first Louvre fortress. In 1364, new ramparts placed the Louvre within city walls. King Charles V then turned it into a royal residence.
West Wing (03:23)
In 1420, occupying English headquartered in the Louvre. In 1528, Francis I demolished the castle keep. Architect Pierre Lescot built a residential wing; Henry II added today's facade. His widow Catherine de Medici hired Philibert de l'Orme to build the Tuileries Palace.
St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre and Grand Design (02:35)
During the French Wars of Religion, King Charles IX ordered Protestant leaders killed at Margaret and Henry of Navarre's wedding. Henry IV's crowning ended the conflict; he joined the Tuileries and Louvre and added the Apollo and Grand galleries.
Continuing the Grand Design (04:09)
After Henry VI's assassination, Louis XIII quadrupled the Louvre courtyard, duplicated the facade, and built the Grand Pavilion. Louis XIV constructed summer apartments for his mother with Italian baroque art associating him with the sun.
Completing the Cour Carree (03:52)
Louis XIV used large scale architecture for legitimacy. Architect Louis Le Vau transformed the Tuileries Palace and demolished the medieval Louvre; learn about the Colonnade Project. When the king moved to Versailles, art academies took over and the Cour Carree became a market.
Becoming a Museum (04:05)
In 1699, Louis XIV allowed the Royal Academy of Painting to exhibit works. Learn about the Enlightenment philosophers' public access campaign. The Central Museum of Arts of the Republic was created in 1791; hear visiting rules.
Napoleon Museum (03:57)
The Louvre ran out of space for collections acquired through conquest; in 1802, Napoleon hired Vivant Denon to expand the buildings. He married Mary Louise of Austria in the Salon Carre, renovated the Tuileries, and linked the Tuileries to the Louvre.
19th Century Acquisitions (03:41)
When Napoleon fell, European monarchs demanded artworks returned. In 1821, the Venus de Milo became the museum's emblem. The first Egyptian collection was launched in 1826, but pillaged during the 1830 revolution. During the Second Republic, Victor Hugo urged Grand Design completion.
Completing the Grand Design (04:56)
Under Napoleon III, the Cour Napoleon and Richelieu and Denon wings were built. Laborers worked on Sunday to finish by the 1855 World's Fair. The Paris Commune burned the Tuileries Palace to destroy the ancien regime.
Mona Lisa Mystery (02:33)
The Finance Ministry took over the Richelieu wing. The "Winged Victory of Samothrace" became an icon in 1883. The Louvre escaped flooding in 1910 but poor security resulted in a laborer stealing the "Mona Lisa;" he was caught two years later
World War II and Decline (03:18)
Learn about Jacques Jaujard's massive evacuation effort ahead of the German invasion. In the 1960s, Andre Malraux restored the facades but several art experts describe the museum as dusty and boring.
Grand Louvre Project (04:00)
Jack Lang describes his 1981 proposal to revert the entire palace into a museum, displacing the Finance Ministry. Construction lasted until 1993; architect I.M. Pei created a controversial glass pyramid that ignited cultural and political battles.
Pyramid Scandal (03:57)
Opponents of François Mitterrand and architectural purists protested I.M. Pei's design until a simulation convinced the mayor of Paris. After archaeological digs and construction delays, Mitterrand hosted the G7 Summit there in 1989.
Future of the Louvre (02:43)
The renovated Richelieu wing opened in 199. In 2012, the Islamic Art Department and a second location opened in Lens. The museum receives ten million visitors annually and continues to evolve.
Credits: Battles of the Louvre (00:39)
Credits: Battles of the Louvre
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