The Louvre’s collection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art is unparalleled in its breadth and significance. Taking a walk around the departments devoted to antiquity is to take a journey that will transport you many thousands of years to locations that are considered the cradles of western civilisation.
The creation of the Egyptian department at the Louvre was the culmination of Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaigns in Egypt. His spoils of war (the Egyptian artefacts pillaged by his soldiers) caused a sensation when they were first displayed at the Louvre. The Louvre’s collection of Egyptian art and artefacts is one of the most important in the world after the Museum of Cairo and it parallels those of other world-class museums such as the British Museum in London.
The Seated Scribe (2620-2500 BC)
The Seated Scribe is one sculpture that is a must-see, particularly for the unique lifelike qualities expressed by the face. The sculpture depicts a seated scribe deep in thought, holding a papyrus roll over his knees, which are covered by a white kilt. Discovered in 1850, it dates from about 2620-2500 BC. It’s amazing to think something this perfectly preserved could survive millennia after millennia.
Colossal Statue of Ramesses II (1279- 1213 BC)
The great Egyptian ruler Ramesses II, who reigned successfully for 67 years is depicted here in his full glory, carved from a block of stone weighing several tons. Some parts of the sculpture show evidence of modification, such as the crown, face, neck, and parts of the torso, suggesting that Ramesses might have ordered the recycling of an older statute.
The Goddess Hathor welcomes Sethos I (1550-1069 BC)
This painting or relief comes from the tomb of Sethos I. His tomb is the largest in the Valley of the Kings. It depicts the Goddess Hathor, welcoming Sethos into her domain. She offers her necklace as a symbol of her protection. The goddess Hathor was important in Egyptian mythology as the one who accompanied people into the afterlife.
Greek and Roman art at the Louvre can be found in the department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities. The collection is enormous and more than adequately illustrates the jaw-dropping four and a half thousand years of history that covers a vast geographic area of the Mediterranean basin. A few must-see works at the Louvre will map out some of this history.
Venus de Milo (100 BC)
The Venus de Milo is the poster girl of Greek antiquity - her mutilated body (absence of her arms) and exquisite beauty have become an enduring symbol of Greek art.
Winged Victory of Samothrace (190 BC)
It’s hard to miss the Winged Victory of Samothrace, perched as she is on the grand staircase of the Denon wing of the Louvre. The ruined statue and the prow of the boat on which she stood were found on the Greek island of Samothrace. It is thought to have been placed there to celebrate a navel victory by the people of Rhodes.
Fighting Warrior (100 BC)
The Fighting Warrior or Borghese Gladiator was part of the collection that bares its name. Since it’s discovery in the 17th Century the Fighting Warrior’s depiction of the male nude has been held up as an ideal male form. Found buried in Italy by the Cardinal Borghese, the statute was bought to France by Napoleon I who acquired it for the Louvre. Originally it was thought the Greek statue was a gladiator (despite the fact that the Greeks did not practice this sport) but this assumption was later corrected.
Agathe was absolutely delightful! Her knowledge and charming personality made her an excellent tour guide. I would highly suggest this tour!!
Jesica was a great tour guide and made the experience one of the highlights of our entire trip to Paris. It certainly met our expectations.
Marjorie was just great! I didn't really want to do the Louvre but she made the history come alive in stories and I just LOVED our experience!
Alberto was a great guide, he was very informative. The Catacombs were just awesome. Would definitely recommend this to everyone!!
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