Louvre Highlights: 5 Pieces of Art to See When Visiting the Museum

The museum of the Louvre, Paris.

The Louvre is on or near the top of most people's lists of things to do when they travel to Paris. But visiting the Louvre isn't as simple as it sounds. The world's largest museum covers some 15 acres, with 35,000 works of art on display. You can't hope to see all the Louvre artwork in a day — or possibly even a week.

Of course, not every work of art is of equal significance, so if you want to check some of the world's greatest artistic creations off your list, be sure to view these five Louvre highlights when visiting.

  1. The Mona Lisa

    Without question, Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of the woman with the enigmatic smile is the best known of all the Louvre artwork. What's less well known, perhaps, is that the identity of the woman has been debated for centuries. It may come as a surprise that the painting measures just 21 x 30 inches, and is encased in bulletproof glass.

  2. Venus de Milo

    The marble statue of a semi-naked woman dates back to approximately 100 BC to 150 BC. It was discovered in pieces on the Greek island of Milos in 1820 and, although painstakingly restored, the arms remain missing. A fine example of Hellenistic art, the graceful, feminine curves have led many to conclude the statue depicts Aphrodite, goddess of love.

  3. The Dying Slave and the Rebellious Slave

    These two sculptures by Michelangelo were originally made for the tomb of Pope Julius II. Both chained, the slaves capture opposing attitudes. The Dying Slave is a young man who may be sleeping or dead, while the Rebellious Slave appears to struggle against his restraints. What the slaves symbolize remains a mystery.

  4. Venus with the Three Graces

    A fresco painting by Sandro Botticelli, it was discovered at Villa Lemmi in Florence under a coat of whitewash in 1873 and brought to the Louvre. The fresco depicts the goddess Venus, accompanied by the Three Graces, giving flowers to a young woman. The painting may have been commissioned to mark the wedding of a family member.

  5. Winged Bulls

    The huge sculpture of a bull with a human head and wings stands 4 meters tall and 4 meters wide, and is carved from a single block. Brought to the Louvre from modern day Syria, these genies consisted of a man, a bull, and a bird, and were thought to protect the people who lived in the building they guarded from enemies.

So that's five Louvre artwork highlights checked off your list. Good luck with the other 34,995.

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