Paintings in the Louvre
by Lawrence, Sir Gowing, et al
Groundbreaking in its comprehensiveness and its reproduction quality, Paintings in the Louvre includes more than 800 European paintings, the most important masterpieces from the greatest collection in the world.
Louvre: Portrait of a Museum
by Nicholas D'Archimbaud
This sumptuous, 335-page book, which is illustrated with 650 original photographs by the author as well as hundreds of works of art in the Louvre's vast holdings (plus archival plans and documents), is the next best thing to being in Paris, at the great museum itself.
This history of 600 years of royal patronage, architectural adjustment, and voracious collecting of sculptures, treasures, paintings, and antiquities is for the cultured traveler, the intelligent tourist, and the art-loving amateur.
The picture captions are warmly written and discursive, often with only minimal details about size and materials, and the text is much too user-friendly for art historians.
But there is a great deal of information here, which could be absorbed only through long hours of perusal.
The book is divided into three main sections: Eight Centuries of History; Architecture; and The Louvre's Seven Departments, including painting, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Egyptian antiquities, sculpture, and the decorative arts. The building itself is treated to a long discussion of the kings, queens, and presidents who have tried and failed to have the last word on its appearance and use.
Torn down, rebuilt, redesigned, and, finally, wrenched into the late 20th century by I.M. Pei's controversial glass pyramid, the Louvre is an evolving work of art.
The Pocket Louvre:
A Visitor's Guide to 500 Works
by Claude Mignot; Paperback
With more than 500 illustrations and numerous gallery floor plans, this invaluable guide is a mini-museum between two covers, offering visitors all they need to make the most of their visit to the world's largest art museum.
Encyclopedic in its scope and exhausting in its magnitude, the Louvre has vast collections ranging from the 6th century b.c. to the mid-19th century.
Its impressive architecture goes back 800 years, to its origins as a fortress guarding medieval Paris.
In its contemporary incarnation, recently reconfigured and rebaptized "The Grand Louvre," it spreads over four levels and boasts more than 30,000 works of art; its galleries, shops, and offices occupy some 1.6 million square feet, of which some 645,600 are dedicated to exhibitions.
Such daunting dimensions can make the museum feel like an endless labyrinth to uninitiated visitors.
For them, The Pocket
Louvre is a unique and essential resource, including: A handy user's guide with information about access to the museum and its many services, from cafs to a post office to shops.
Suggested itineraries for visits of varying lengths and for visitors with differing interests. A history of the Louvre and its architecture. A history of the collections. An illustrated catalog of 500 masterpieces, all in color, with useful brief commentaries.
About the Author
Claude Mignot is a professor of art history at the University of Tours, France, specializing in the history of Parisian art and architecture of the 17th century.