Musée du Louvre, Paris
The Louvre in Paris is arguably the most famous museum in the world and hardly needs an introduction. Our focus here is parts of its vast collections which should be of particular interest for the study of the Silk Road: the Near Eastern Antiquities and Islamic Art collections. (The major French collections of Asian art are not in the Louvre but in the Musée Guimet for which there is a separate set of pages in Silk Road Seattle's featured museums.) The Louvre's website is available in French, English and Japanese. Links here are to the pages in English.
- From the opening page on the top bar follow the path collection>curatorial departments.
- If you then choose "Near Eastern Antiquities" you may look at over 180 "Selected Works," details and descriptions of which may be selected from an array of thumbnailed images. One may sort by period or theme. Lower on the page is an option under "Thematic Trails" to view "The World of the Sumerian City States." For each of the "selected works" note that the verbal descriptions are extremely well written and much more informative than are those found in most other museums' descriptions of their highlights. The Louvre does a very nice job of contextualizing the objects displayed.
- The same procedure for "Islamic Art" offers 125 "Selected Works" and a special Thematic Trail "Masterpieces of Islamic Art."
- If you wish to walk through the galleries in any of the Museum's collections to view each and every object, click on the "Atlas Database," which will bring up several options. Choosing "By Department" lets one start with the first gallery of each collection. If you are familiar with the museum layout, you can also choose a particular gallery from the floor map accessed "By Room," the image map providing a title for that gallery's focus. For each gallery then you get an array of objects, most but not all with a thumbnailed image and link to a brief description (in French-not available in other languages) and enlarged image (in some cases multiple images with details). Be aware that what is on the website and what you find in the museum may differ, depending on whether objects are on loan, exhibits are being re-mounted, etc.
My photographs here in many cases duplicate what is available for the same objects on the Louvre website; in those instances I provide a link, with preference given to the detailed descriptions of their Selected Works in English. However, in a good many cases the museum's website does not yet have an image or my image may present a different detail or view. Note that while the museum's recent photos are of excellent quality, in the larger Atlas database some photos are older and sub-standard. My own photos naturally are limited by gallery lighting, reflection off of glass, etc.; while I have tried to adjust colors for accuracy, as noted in my captions there are a few glaring cases of discrepancy with what the museum has posted.
All photographs were taken in March 2007 and are copyright © Daniel C. Waugh. They may be used for non-profit educational purposes, but please ask permission first, since that helps me track the value of this material. I am generally not in the business of selling rights to higher resolution images even where I have them; for such queries, please contact the Museum's permission department and obtain photographs directly from them.
Last modified April 2007.