The Louvre Museum is the largest of the world’s art museums by its exhibition surface. These represent the Western art of the Middle Ages in 1848, those of the ancient civilizations that preceded and influenced it (Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman), and the arts of early Christians and Islam.
At the origin of the Louvre existed a castle, built by King Philip Augustus in 1190, and occupying the southwest quarter of the current Cour Carrée. In 1594, Henri IV decided to unite the palace of the Louvre with the palace of the Tuileries built by Catherine de Medicis. The Cour Carrée was built by the architects Lemercier and then Le Vau, under the reign of Louis XIII and Louis XIV.
The Department of Paintings currently has about 7,500 paintings (of which 3,400 are exposed), covering a period that goes from the Middle Ages to 1848 (date of the beginning of the Second Republic). By including the deposits, the collection is, with 12,660 works, the largest collection of ancient paintings in the world. With rare exceptions, the works after 1848 were transferred to the Musée d’Orsay when it was created in 1986.
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