Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 74,Musée du Louvre(6), Paris, France

Oh, guys there is the Musée du Louvre or simply the Louvre — the largest national museum of France, the most visited museum in the world, and a historic monument.
It is a central landmark of Paris, located on the Right Bank of the Seine.

The museum is actually housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II.

In 1672, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household,
leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of antique sculpture.

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation's masterpieces. The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being confiscated church and royal property.

The size of the collection increased under Napoleon when the museum was renamed the Musée Napoléon. After his defeat at Waterloo, many works seized by Napoleon's armies were returned to their original owners.

The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic, except during the two World Wars.
As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; and Prints and Drawings.

Yes, Marti, you are right, the Mona Lisa (also known as La Gioconda), a 16th century portrait painted in oil on a poplar panel by Leonardo da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance, is on the wall in the Louvre. The title of the portrait….simply "Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo" It is perhaps the most famous painting in the world.

It is a pity that we are taking a night tour through Paris, so you won't be able to visit the museum....but you have to admit that this city is simply awesome at night!

Yes, yes, all of us are Dan Brown fans...and in " The Da Vinci Code", Robert Langdon reads esoteric symbolism into the two pyramids: The Inverted Pyramid is perceived as a Chalice, a feminine symbol, whereas the stone pyramid below is interpreted as a Blade, a masculine symbol: the whole structure could thus express the union of the genders.

Moreover, Brown's protagonist concludes that the tiny stone pyramid is actually only the apex of a larger pyramid (possibly the same size as the inverted pyramid above), embedded in the floor as a secret chamber. This hidden submerged pyramid is hinted to hold the remains of Mary Magdalene, plus a set of ancient documents setting out the "true" story of early Christianity.

These items are identified as the real Holy Grail, hidden away by a secret society when the new Louvre foyer was constructed in the 1980s and 1990s.

In Reality
Up close, it is quite obvious that the stone pyramid below La Pyramide Inversée is merely sitting on top of the floor and does not really extend below floor level (it was indeed so designed that it can be slid aside when the floor is being cleaned).

The artist is said to be interested almost solely in abstract geometrical forms. If true, this would mean that the Inverted Pyramid has no other meaning or purpose than to function as a light-well in the underground shopping area where it is suspended.

But while Brown's interpretation is fiction, his novel generated has such public interest in these architectural features that the Louvre Museum had to rope off the area around the stone pyramid, evidently to prevent visitors from inflicting any damage!!

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