Department of Decorative arts, Louvre Museum, Paris, France

The Department of Objets d’art at the Louvre Museum is one of the richest departments in the museum, constantly enlarged by donations and purchases. There are jewels, statuettes and trinkets, but also furniture and tapestries. The objects cover a period from the High Middle Ages to the middle of the 19th century. The collection, one of the most beautiful in the world, includes more than 24,163 works in total, of which 8,500 are exhibited in 96 rooms, some of which are masterpieces in themselves (Galerie d’Apollon, Appartements Napoléon III).

This department was created in 1893, when it was separated from that of Sculptures. The Objets d’art collection spans the time from the Middle Ages to the mid-19th century. The department began as a subset of the sculpture department, based on royal property and the transfer of work from the Basilique Saint-Denis, the burial ground of French monarchs that held the Coronation Sword of the Kings of France. Of exceptional value, these objects and furniture come from the royal collections, the old treasures of Saint-Denis and the Order of the Holy Spirit, as well as from the transfer to the Louvre, in 1901, of the former Musée du Mobilier National.

To this have been added, since the beginning, multiple donations and purchases. Among the budding collection’s most prized works were pietre dure vases and bronzes. The Durand collection’s 1825 acquisition added “ceramics, enamels, and stained glass”, and 800 pieces were given by Pierre Révoil. The onset of Romanticism rekindled interest in Renaissance and Medieval artwork, and the Sauvageot donation expanded the department with 1,500 middle-age and faïence works. In 1862, the Campana collection added gold jewelry and maiolicas, mainly from the 15th and 16th centuries.

The collections of the works of art department are on the 1st floor of the museum, in the Richelieu wing, the North and North-West wings of the Cour Carrée, as well as on the 1st floor of the Denon wing (gallery of Apollo). The Richelieu wing previously housed the Ministry of Finance, which moved to Bercy, was converted into exhibition halls and inaugurated on November 18, 1993. The Apollo Gallery in the Richelieu Wing’s first floor, named by the painter Charles Le Brun, who was commissioned by Louis XIV (the Sun King) to decorate the space in a solar theme.

The medieval collection contains the coronation crown of Louis XIV, Charles V’s sceptre, and the 12th century porphyry vase. The Renaissance art holdings include Giambologna’s bronze Nessus and Deianira and the tapestry Maximillian’s Hunt. From later periods, highlights include Madame de Pompadour’s Sèvres vase collection and Napoleon III’s apartments.

January 2000, new rooms devoted to 19th century works of art are opening their doors in the former offices of Napoleon III’s Ministry of Finance, bringing the number of items inventoried in the department to 20,000. In September 2000, the Louvre Museum dedicated the Gilbert Chagoury and Rose-Marie Chagoury Gallery to display tapestries donated by the Chagourys, including a 16th-century six-part tapestry suite, sewn with gold and silver threads representing sea divinities, which was commissioned in Paris for Colbert de Seignelay, Secretary of State for the Navy.

In 2005, the section of the Louvre’s Objets d’Art department devoted to the reign of Louis XIV and the 18th century was closed for renovation, originally for a question of upgrading the electrical system which was to last 2 years. June 6, 2014, after 9 years and a budget of 26 million euros, 33 new rooms containing more than 2000 objects have been reopened, a large part of which have been designed as Period rooms presenting French furniture from the reign of Louis XIV to that of Louis XVI.

The art collection has been reconstituted thanks to contributions from the Tuileries Palace and the Château de Saint-Cloud in the form of furniture and other decorative objects, followed by the Mobilier national of masterpieces of cabinetmaking and the tapestry of royal origin.

There are 4 groups of collections in the department: the collections from the Middle Ages, the collections from the Renaissance and the first half of the 17th century, the collections from the second half of the 17th and 18th centuries and the collections from the 19th century. th century (including the Napoleon III apartments).

The presentation in the rooms of the collections from the second half of the 17th and 18th centuries has been divided into three main chronological and stylistic sequences: 1660-1725: the personal reign of Louis XIV and the Regency (rooms 601 to 606); 1725-1755: the blossoming of the rococo style (rooms 605, 607 to 615); 1755-1790: the return to classicism and the reign of Louis XVI (rooms 616 to 632).

This new presentation of the collections makes it possible to show the woodwork of several salons of private mansions, to reassemble the dome of the Petits-Appartements of the Hôtel du Prince de Condé made by Antoine-François Callet in 1774 and to present furniture by André- Charles Boulle, Martin Carlin, Mathieu Criaerd, Alexandre-Jean Oppenord.

The ceiling in the hall of the Beauvais pavilion (room 605) was painted by Carolus Duran. During the 2006-2014 renovation, a ceiling painted by Giovanni Scajario was installed, the Toilette de Vénus cupola by Antoine-François Callet was reassembled from the Palais-Bourbon, and tapestries by Noël Coypel were affixed. The rooms are decorated with Boulle furniture, which requires intensive maintenance and renovation.

In the time of King Louis XIV, then Louis XV and Louis XVI, the French way of life developed. The royal residences saw their layout change. Since 1682, the Court has been officially installed in Versailles. But the Sun King continues to move between Fontainebleau, Compiègne or Marly. And in each residence, the decor and furnishings must be up to the standards of its prestigious occupants.

This was the time when the great factories were booming: Les Gobelins and Beauvais for tapestry, Sèvres for porcelain, La Savonnerie for rugs, but also the many workshops in Lyon specializing in silk work… Cabinetmakers became famous, such as Cressent, Carlin, Oeben or Riesener. To meet the strong demand, factories and workshops created for the Court precious furniture, large ceremonial services, refined scientific instruments, even small everyday objects.

Immersed in the unique atmosphere that reigned in the great residences of the 18th century, Parisian or provincial, royal or private. Most of the rooms are based on the combination of decorations, furniture and objects from different castles or mansions. Visitors are n able to bring together several elements of the same set, as is the case for the grand salon of the Château d’Abondant, that of the hotel of the financier Marquet de Peyre in Paris or the cabinet Turk of the Comte d’Artois, brother of Louis XVI, at the Palace of Versailles.

Apollo Gallery
It was in the Galerie d’Apollon that Louis XIV for the first time associated his royal power with the divinity of the sun. To achieve this masterpiece of architectural decoration, combining painting, sculpture and gilding, he surrounded himself with the greatest artists who worked, a few years later, at the Palace of Versailles, in the Hall of Mirrors. Today, the Gallery of Apollo houses the royal collection of gems and the Crown diamonds.

On February 6, 1661, the flames ravaged the sumptuous Petite Galerie which dated from the reign of Henri IV. His grandson, Louis XIV, immediately set about rebuilding an even more beautiful gallery, and entrusted the work to the architect Louis Le Vau. Aged 23, the young king has just chosen the sun as his emblem. This will therefore be the theme of the new gallery which bears the name of the Greek god of light and the arts, Apollo. Apollo Gallery is the first example of a royal gallery, the Galerie d’Apollon became the site of aesthetic and architectural experiments. Twenty years later, it will serve as a model for one of the symbols of French classicism: the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.

The First Painter to the King, Charles Le Brun, was responsible for designing the decor and surrounded himself with the best artists to create it. At the Louvre, Charles Le Brun adorns the vault of the gallery with paintings representing the race of Apollo in his chariot across the sky. The journey of the sun god thus marks the different times of the day, from Dawn to Night. Around this central axis, the representations and symbols of all that is influenced by the variations of the light and the beneficial heat of the solar star (the hours, the days, the months, the seasons, but also the signs of the zodiac or the continents) form a cosmic whole. This setting teeming with paintings and sculptures materializes the power of the sun which governs the whole universe. Through Apollo, the gallery exalts the glory of the Sun King.

The gallery is unfinished until two centuries later, in 1850, that the decor was finished, under the direction of Félix Duban. Eugène Delacroix was commissioned to create a 12-meter-wide work to adorn the center of the ceiling, Apollo conquering the serpent Python, a veritable pictorial manifesto of romanticism. The decor is also completed on the walls where tapestries show the portraits of 28 sovereigns and artists who, over the centuries, have built and embellished the palace.

In the Louvre, which then became a museum, the Apollo Gallery presents the sumptuous collection of gems gathered by the kings of France. These works carved in precious minerals (agate, amethyst, lapis lazuli, jade, sardony or rock crystal) and enhanced by usually spectacular settings are objects of great luxury, appreciated since Antiquity. Louis XIV had a real passion for gems: his collection numbered around 800 pieces.

The treasure of the kings of France also consists of the famous diamonds of the Crown. The oldest stone is the so-called Côte-de-Bretagne spinel, which entered the treasury thanks to Queen Anne of Brittany. Three historic diamonds, the Regent, the Sancy and the Hortensia, have adorned the clothes or crowns of sovereigns. Also preserved are spectacular ornaments created in the 19th century, such as those in emeralds and diamonds of the Empress Marie-Louise.

Napoleon III apartments
During the Second Empire, the Louvre was a palace, the atmosphere changes completely. Gilding, velvet, paintings and stucco adorn the lounges and dining rooms to provide a sumptuous setting for all kinds of receptions. Social dinners or masked balls, parties were part of the lifestyle of the high society of the Second Empire. And at the Minister of State, it is not uncommon to see the imperial couple among the guests.

The Emperor Napoleon III reserved part of the brand new Richelieu wing for his minister: the first floor, Cour Napoléon side. The Minister has small apartments where he resides with his family: rooms of modest size, which evoke the interior of a wealthy bourgeois. This unadorned private part is followed by large ceremonial apartments.

The Grand Salon is by far the most spectacular room in the apartments. It is called the theater room, and for good reason: it can be transformed into a theater stage. The Grand Salon was then reorganized to accommodate up to 250 guests. And if the show requires musicians, a small stand is specially set up above the stage to accommodate them.

After the Minister of State under the Second Empire (1852-1870), these apartments were allocated to the Ministry of Finance. It will be so until 1989. It is on this date that the Louvre Palace becomes entirely a museum. Since 1993, these rooms have been open to the public. Admire these decorations preserved almost intact for nearly 150 years.

Louvre Museum
The Louvre is the world’s most-visited museum, and a historic landmark in Paris, France. The Louvre Museum is a Parisian art and archeology museum housed in the former royal palace of the Louvre. Opened in 1793, it is one of the largest and richest museums in the world, but also the busiest with nearly 9 million visitors a year. It is the home of some of the best-known works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. Remnants of the Medieval Louvre fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to urban expansion, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function, and in 1546 Francis I converted it into the primary residence of the French Kings. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace.

The Musée du Louvre contains more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments with more than 60,600 square metres (652,000 sq ft) dedicated to the permanent collection. The Louvre exhibits sculptures, objets d’art, paintings, drawings, and archaeological finds. The Louvre Museum presents very varied collections, with a large part devoted to the art and civilizations of Antiquity: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and RomeLogo indicating tariffs to quote that they; medieval Europe (setting around the ruins of the keep of Philippe-Auguste, on which the Louvre was built) and Napoleonic France are also widely represented.

The Louvre has a long history of artistic and historical conservation, from the Ancien Régime to the present day. Following the departure of Louis XIV for the Palace of Versailles at the end of the 17th century century, part of the royal collections of paintings and antique sculptures are stored there. After having housed several academies for a century, including that of painting and sculpture, as well as various artists housed by the king, the former royal palace was truly transformed during the Revolution into a “Central Museum of the Arts of the Republic”. It opened in 1793, exhibiting around 660 works, mainly from royal collections or confiscated from emigrant nobles or from churches. Subsequently, the collections will continue to be enriched by wartime spoils, acquisitions, sponsorships, legacies, donations, and archaeological discoveries.

Located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, between the right bank of the Seine and the rue de Rivoli, the museum is distinguished by the glass pyramid of its reception hall, erected in 1989 in the Napoleon courtyard and which has become emblematic, while the equestrian statue of Louis XIV constitutes the starting point of the Parisian historical axis. Among his most famous plays are The Mona Lisa, The Venus de Milo, The Crouching Scribe, The Victory of Samothrace, and The Code of Hammurabi.