Incredible Louvre ceilings and floors

Of course, most visitors go to see the paintings and statues in the Louvre, but it’s worth going just to see the building itself. It’s easy to forget that the Louvre was originally built as a fortified palace and over the years, renovated, ransacked and after the French revolution, turned into a museum.

Paris - Louvre marble stairs

As you walk through the galleries you'll come upon stairs leading to other floors. Works of art. Sublime!

Paris - Just a Louvre stairwell landing

Another view of the landing. The precision and proportions are perfect.

Paris - Louvre ceiling over staircase

At other times when you're going down the stairs, it pays to look up. How long did it take a workshop to do this? I doubt it's out of a catalog.

But in the mid-1800’s Napoleon III (same one who completely re-arranged the streets of Paris and put in all the grand boulevards) maintained apartments in the Louvre. Not just any apartments of course. Over-the-top, ornate, gold leaf, carved columns and ceilings and acres of marble and limestone.

Paris - Napoleon III bedroom ceiling in the Louvre

Staring at the ceiling on another sleepless night? Are you staring at a ceiling like this one in Napoleon's bedroom? Why count sheep when you can count cherubs?

It’s not all historic either. Quite by accident we came upon a gallery with a stunning Mediterranean blue painted ceiling. Paris - Louvre sign for Cy TwomblyIt’s by the American artist Cy Twombly and had just been unveiled the month before we got there. Read more about Cy Twombly’s ceiling  here in the New York Times.

Paris - Louvre Cy Twombly ceiling

What a wonderful surprise this was. You stand in the doorway slack-jawed....

What struck me about this was that the French had to vision to hire an artist who they thought was worthy of this and was not necessarily French. Twombly joins artists Anselm Kiefer, Georges Bracque, Charles Le Brun, Eugène Delacroix and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in a select group of artists who have contributed original artwork to the Louvre while they were still alive.  The ceiling is such an interesting contrast to the rest of the room. What do the Greek letters say? Hit the link to the NY Times to find out.

BTW, the header image is of a section of the restored foundations of the oldest part of the Louvre, dating to the late 12th century.

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