Italian Painting Collection, Louvre Museum, Paris, France

The Italian painting collection are notable, particularly the Renaissance collection. The Italian painting collection belong to the Department of Paintings, which is one of the eight departments that make up the Louvre Museum. It is one of the largest and most famous collections in the world. The collections of the department of paintings are specialized in European art from the 13th to the end of the 19th century.

The Italian paintings compose most of the remnants of Francis I and Louis XIV’s collections, others are unreturned artwork from the Napoleon era, and some were bought. The Italian painting collection began with Francis, who acquired works from Italian masters such as Raphael and Michelangelo and brought Leonardo da Vinci to his court. The works include Andrea Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini’s Calvarys, which reflect realism and detail “meant to depict the significant events of a greater spiritual world”.

The Italian painting is abundantly represented, with around 1,100 works, 600 of which are on permanent display. Among these are many masterpieces by the greatest painters, including what is probably the most famous painting in the world, The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. The Louvre also preserves four other works by the hand of the great Renaissance master, notably his Saint John the Baptist and The Virgin, the Child Jesus and Saint Anne.

The High Renaissance collection includes Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Virgin and Child with St. Anne, St. John the Baptist, and Madonna of the Rocks. The Baroque collection includes Giambattista Pittoni’s The Continence of Scipio, Susanna and the Elders, Bacchus and Ariadne, Mars and Venus, and others Caravaggio is represented by The Fortune Teller and Death of the Virgin. From 16th century Venice, the Louvre displays Titian’s Le Concert Champetre, The Entombment, and The Crowning with Thorns.

The collection of Italian Renaissance painting includes works by Cimabue (Maestà), Lorenzo Monaco (Le Christ au jardin des Oliviers), Giotto di Bondone, Fra Angelico, Paolo Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Pisanello, Filippo Lippi, Sandro Botticelli (especially the frescoes of Villa Lemmi), Luca Signorelli, Antonello da Messina (especially Le condottiere), Vittore Carpaccio, Giovanni Bellini, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Andrea Mantegna, seven paintings by Pérugin…

Ten by Raphael, including the Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, fourteen of Titian, including The Country Concert, some fifteen paintings by Veronese, including the Wedding of Cana, others by Tintoret (including his Self- Portrait), by Sebastiano del Piombo, Andrea del Sarto, Lorenzo Lotto, The Corrège, Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, Parmigianino, Arcimboldo or Federico Barocci.

For the 17th century, there are works by all the major painters, starting with Caravaggio, three of whose paintings are kept in the museum (The Fortune Teller, The Death of the Virgin and the Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt), several Annibale Carracci, as well as Guido Reni, Guercino, Dominiquin, Pierre de Cortona, Salvator Rosa and Luca Giordano.

The Italian 18th century is also well represented in its diversity, with an important place given to the Venetian and Roman schools. The section includes works by painters such as Giambattista Pittoni (Bacchus and Ariadne, The Continence of Scipio, Christ Giving the Keys of Paradise to Saint Peter, Mars and Venus, Polyxena before the Tomb of Achilles, Susanna and the Elders, Tomb allegorical of Archbishop John Tillotson), vedute by Canaletto and Francesco Guardi, paintings byGiambattista Tiepolo et de son fils Giandomenico, Sebastiano Ricci, Francesco Solimena, Giovanni Paolo Pannini.

Salle des Etats
Built between 1855 and 1857 by the architect Hector Lefuel, the Salle des Etats housed the major legislative sessions during the Second Empire. This is where its name comes from. The decor desired by Napoleon III is imposing and sumptuous, with its painted vaults which proclaim the glory of the Empire. After the fall of the Emperor, the room was transferred to the Louvre Museum to house 19th century French painting. At the start of the Third Republic, the architect Edmond Guillaume transformed the room to adapt it to this new function: the windows were closed off to leave more room for the paintings, and a glass roof was pierced in the ceiling to provide overhead lighting which limited the reflections. After the Second World War, the paintings of French painters were replaced on the walls by Venetian paintings.

Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese… The greatest Venetian painters compete with each other through their dazzling works. Veronese ‘s monumental Marriage at Cana occupies the entire wall facing the Mona Lisa. Other famous paintings surround it: The Country Concert by Titian and his Man with a Glove, the fiery sketch made by Tintoretto for The Coronation of the Virgin also called Paradise, a project for a huge decor in the Grand Council room at the Doge’s Palace, sublime portraits, such as Une patricienne de Venise, known as La Belle Nani by Veronese… and so many others. Colors and lights testify to the virtuosity of Venetian artists of the Renaissance.

It is in the Salle des Etats that the most famous painting in the world is exhibited: The Mona Lisa. This vast room, the largest in the museum, can accommodate many visitors. Since 2005, the Mona Lisa sits alone in the center of the room, behind a window that protects her. This exceptional presentation meets security requirements, but also conservation needs. The famous enigmatic smile of Monna Lisa has not ceased to seduce for centuries. One of his first admirers was King Francis I. The latter, who invited Leonardo da Vinci to France, bought the painting from him in 1518. This is how the work entered the royal collections which have been on display at the Louvre since the Revolution.

It is the most famous portrait in the world, that of Monna Lisa, the wife of the Florentine fabric merchant, Francesco del Giocondo, nicknamed the Frenchified “Gioconda” La Joconde. Painted in front of a distant landscape, the Mona Lisa looks at us, her legendary smile on her lips. But in addition to its expression, it is the technique of sfumato that gives it this particular presence: Leonardo da Vinci superimposed thin layers of paint to create shapes while attenuating contours and contrasts. The artist captures the moment when Monna Lisa turns towards the viewer. It is this movement so natural that gives an impression of life to the painting.

This is also where other well-known works of the Venetian school are presented, such as The Wedding at Cana by Veronese. This work was produced by Veronese for the refectory of the monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, from where it was taken by the troops of General Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798. When the Empire fell in 1815, most of the paintings seized returned to Italy, but it was feared that the return trip would damage it: it was therefore exchanged for a painting by Le Brun, The Magdalen and the Pharisee. Despite everything, the adventures of the Wedding at Cana do not stop there, since the canvas will be evacuated twice to be sheltered from the wars that affect Paris, in 1870 and then in 1939.

La Grande Galerie
La Grande Galerie is one of the most emblematic places of the Louvre since the transformation of the palace into a museum. Visitors can now discover the museum’s very rich collection of Italian paintings, one of the most important in the world. Dozens and dozens of paintings that follow one another as far as the eye can see along a gallery with majestic architecture… Today, on the walls of the Grande Galerie, there are masterpieces by the greatest masters of Italian painting: Mantegna, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Arcimboldo, Caravaggio… and many others.

In order to provide optimal conditions for coming to admire this extraordinary collection, the choice was made to install zenithal lighting, that is to say from skylights on the ceiling which diffuse natural light. Napoleon III’s architect, Hector Lefuel, pierces the vault to create windows. The light, equal and natural, thus avoids reflections on the paintings.

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.