Should you be the kind of person who goes to the Louvre to go to the Louvre, to cock your head, and admire the art, to feel so overwhelmed by beauty that you're moved to tears, then you will rejoice at the the news that the museum is putting its entire collection online. You have trodden its cavernous corridors before, lost track of time, discovering Ancient artefacts, Renaissance chef d’oeuvres, Napoleon III's apartments and rare diamonds and jewels from the French royals. But now you can admire it without judgement (you tried to take a picture of the Mona Lisa...), tutting (someone saw you take a picture of the Mona Lisa...) and queues. Designed for professional researchers and passionate art fans alike, the new database already contains more than 482,000 entries, including masterpieces like the aforementioned Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and also works from the Musée National Eugène Delacroix and the Tuileries gardens. And, most pleasingly, it's all free.
“Today, the Louvre is dusting off its treasures, even the least-known,” said Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre, in the official press statement. “For the first time, anyone can access the entire collection of works from a computer or smartphone for free, whether they are on display in the museum, on loan, even long-term, or in storage”. He explained that this is just the beginning, and that the database will grow gradually, and be updated on a daily basis by the museum's curators, historians and researchers. “The Louvre’s stunning cultural heritage is all now just a click away!", he added. "I am sure that this digital content is going to further inspire people to come to the Louvre to discover the collections in person”.
So how does it work? You can either search for a specific art piece, period or style (N.B: although the website is available both in English and French, be prepared to use French terms in the search bar. Or you can have a look at the themed albums, like The Art of Portraiture or Major Events in History. You can also explore your favourite categories: paintings; sculptures; furniture; textiles; jewellery. There's also an interactive map, where you can click on every room and see what’s inside. And for added effect, you can even download collection texts and photos in HD, to keep a better track of how your new discoveries looked and how to find them.
Visit the Louvre collections here.
Images | Louvre Museum