The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city's 1st arrondissement. 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres. In 2018, the Louvre was the world's most visited art museum; the museum is housed in the Louvre Palace built as the Louvre castle in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to the urban expansion of the city, the fortress lost its defensive function and, in 1546, was converted by Francis I into the main residence of the French Kings; the building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre as a place to display the royal collection, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons.
The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation's masterpieces; the museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801; the collection was increased under Napoleon and the museum was renamed Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon's abdication many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown through donations and bequests since the Third Republic; the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities. The Louvre Palace, which houses the museum, was begun as a fortress by Philip II in the 12th century to protect the city from English soldiers which were in Normandy.
Remnants of this castle are still visible in the crypt. Whether this was the first building on that spot is not known. According to the authoritative Grand Larousse encyclopédique, the name derives from an association with wolf hunting den. In the 7th century, St. Fare, an abbess in Meaux, left part of her "Villa called Luvra situated in the region of Paris" to a monastery.. The Louvre Palace was altered throughout the Middle Ages. In the 14th century, Charles V converted the building into a residence and in 1546, Francis I renovated the site in French Renaissance style. Francis acquired what would become the nucleus of the Louvre's holdings, his acquisitions including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. After Louis XIV chose Versailles as his residence in 1682, constructions slowed. Four generations of Boulle were granted Royal patronage and resided in the Louvre in the following order: Pierre Boulle, Jean Boulle, Andre-Charles Boulle and his four sons, after him. André-Charles Boulle is the most famous French cabinetmaker and the preeminent artist in the field of marquetry known as "Inlay".
Boulle was "the most remarkable of all French cabinetmakers". He was commended to Louis XIV of France, the "Sun King", by Jean-Baptiste Colbert as being "the most skilled craftsman in his profession". Before the fire of 1720 destroyed them, André-Charles Boulle held priceless works of art in the Louvre, including forty-eight drawings by Raphael'. By the mid-18th century there were an increasing number of proposals to create a public gallery, with the art critic La Font de Saint-Yenne publishing, in 1747, a call for a display of the royal collection. On 14 October 1750, Louis XV agreed and sanctioned a display of 96 pieces from the royal collection, mounted in the Galerie royale de peinture of the Luxembourg Palace. A hall was opened by Le Normant de Tournehem and the Marquis de Marigny for public viewing of the Tableaux du Roy on Wednesdays and Saturdays, contained Andrea del Sarto's Charity and works by Raphael. Under Louis XVI, the royal museum idea became policy; the comte d'Angiviller broadened the collection and in 1776 proposed conversion of the Grande Galerie of the Louvre – which contained maps – into the "French Museum".
Many proposals were offered for the Louvre's renovation into a museum. Hence the museum remained incomplete until the French Revolution. During the French Revolution the Louvre was transformed into a public museum. In May 1791, the Assembly declared that the Louvre would be "a place for bringing together monuments of all the sciences and arts". On 10 August 1792, Louis XVI was imprisoned and the royal collection i
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the largest art museum in the United States. With 6,953,927 visitors to its three locations in 2018, it was the third most visited art museum in the world, its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among seventeen curatorial departments. The main building, on the eastern edge of Central Park along Museum Mile in Manhattan's Upper East Side is by area one of the world's largest art galleries. A much smaller second location, The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, contains an extensive collection of art and artifacts from Medieval Europe. On March 18, 2016, the museum opened the Met Breuer museum at Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side; the permanent collection consists of works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met maintains extensive holdings of African, Oceanian and Islamic art.
The museum is home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments and accessories, as well as antique weapons and armor from around the world. Several notable interiors, ranging from 1st-century Rome through modern American design, are installed in its galleries; the Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 for the purposes of opening a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. It opened on February 20, 1872, was located at 681 Fifth Avenue; the Met's permanent collection is curated by seventeen separate departments, each with a specialized staff of curators and scholars, as well as six dedicated conservation departments and a Department of Scientific Research. The permanent collection includes works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, an extensive collection of American and modern art; the Met maintains extensive holdings of African, Oceanian and Islamic art. The museum is home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments and accessories, antique weapons and armor from around the world.
A great number of period rooms, ranging from 1st-century Rome through modern American design, are permanently installed in the Met's galleries. In addition to its permanent exhibitions, the Met organizes and hosts large traveling shows throughout the year; the current chairman of the board, Daniel Brodsky, was elected in 2011 and became chairman three years after director Philippe de Montebello retired at the end of 2008. On March 1, 2017, the BBC reported that Daniel Weiss, the Met's president and COO, would temporarily act as CEO for the museum. Following the departure of Thomas P. Campbell as the Met's director and CEO on June 30, 2017, the search for a new director of the museum was assigned to the human resources firm Phillips Oppenheim to present a new candidate for the position "by the end of the fiscal year in June" of 2018; the next director will report to Weiss as the current president of the museum. In April 2018, Max Hollein was named director. Beginning in the late 19th century, the Met started acquiring ancient art and artifacts from the Near East.
From a few cuneiform tablets and seals, the Met's collection of Near Eastern art has grown to more than 7,000 pieces. Representing a history of the region beginning in the Neolithic Period and encompassing the fall of the Sasanian Empire and the end of Late Antiquity, the collection includes works from the Sumerian, Sasanian, Assyrian and Elamite cultures, as well as an extensive collection of unique Bronze Age objects; the highlights of the collection include a set of monumental stone lamassu, or guardian figures, from the Northwest Palace of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II. Though the Met first acquired a group of Peruvian antiquities in 1882, the museum did not begin a concerted effort to collect works from Africa and the Americas until 1969, when American businessman and philanthropist Nelson A. Rockefeller donated his more than 3,000-piece collection to the museum. Today, the Met's collection contains more than 11,000 pieces from sub-Saharan Africa, the Pacific Islands, the Americas and is housed in the 40,000-square-foot Rockefeller Wing on the south end of the museum.
The collection ranges from 40,000-year-old indigenous Australian rock paintings, to a group of 15-foot-tall memorial poles carved by the Asmat people of New Guinea, to a priceless collection of ceremonial and personal objects from the Nigerian Court of Benin donated by Klaus Perls. The range of materials represented in the Africa and Americas collection is undoubtedly the widest of any department at the Met, including everything from precious metals to porcupine quills; the Met's Asian department holds a collection of Asian art, of more than 35,000 pieces, arguably the most comprehensive in the US. The collection dates back to the founding of the museum: many of the philanthropists who made the earliest gifts to the museum included Asian art in their collections. Today, an entire wing of the museum is dedicated to the Asian collection, spans 4,000 years of Asian art; every Asian civilization is represented in the Met's Asian department, the pieces on display include every type of decorative art, from painting and printmaking to sculpture and metalworking.
The department is well known for its comprehensive collection of Chinese calligraphy and painting, as well as for its Indian sculptures and Tibetan works, the arts of Burma and Thailand. All three ancient religions of India – Hinduism and Jainism – are well represented in these s
Surtout de table
A surtout de table is an ornamental centrepiece displayed on a formal dining table. Evolving from a simple plate or bowl on which to stand candlesticks and condiments, a surtout de table took the form of a long galleried tray made of precious or gilded metals, on which a series of other objects were placed for display, it was made in sections allowing its length to be determined by the leaves added to the table. During the half of the 18th century and throughout the 19th century, no formal table was considered compete without one. Today, they are still used in the most formal dining rooms; the term can refer either to a large centrepiece object, or the tray type on which objects are placed, or the two in combination. The surtout de table first appeared in the 17th century and was a utilitarian object designed to hold candles, protect a polished wooden table from the staining caused by spillage from the salt and vinegars in the condiments; as the great central and ceremonial salt cellars fell from favour, to be replaced by smaller individual salt cellars, during the first half of the 18th century, the surtout de table evolved to fill the role of ornamental table centrepiece.
It took the form of a raised galleried tray which would be filled with matching candelabra, figurines and epergnes, the gallery itself sometimes containing candle sconces. They were not always constructed from precious metals; the top of the tray was a mirror, to show the underside of the objects on it, increase reflected light. It was not uncommon, if a surtout de table were commissioned for a specific house, for an indigenous theme to be used in the style. Hence, a hunting lodge may have a surtout de table with figurines of dogs and their quarry while a grander town palace would feature the most fashionable Rococo or Baroque styles of the day. During the 1850s, the fashion for themed dining table decoration reached its apogee and the surtout de table reflected this. Porcelain factories such as Meissen produced elaborate models and figurines which replaced the classical statuary of the Empire style with coloured porcelain mountains, rustic scenes with cattle and goats and even a jungle theme complete with lifelike porcelain snakes.
Notable examples of surtouts de table include those made the Italian goldsmith Luigi Valadier designed by his son, the architect Giuseppe Valadier. These monumental surtouts de table represent Roman cities in miniature, complete with temples and triumphal arches of coloured marbles and alabaster mounted on gold and mosaic pediments. Waddesdon Manor in England is now home to a vast 6.7 metre long gilt tray surtout de table made by Pierre-Philippe Thomire. Made circa 1818, it was given to Prince Ruffo della Scaletta by Louis XVIII. France distributing wreaths of glory is the name and theme of a large silver plate on bronze surtout de table commissioned from the Parisian jeweller Charles Christofle by Napoleon III in 1852. Intended for use at state banquets at the Tuileries Palace, the gilded tray contains a garniture of fifteen sculptures; the central figure is a winged Victory bearing laurel leaves which she awards to two horse-drawn chariots representing war and peace. At Victory's feet sit figurines representing Justice, Concord and Religion.
The surtout de table was still in situ when the palace caught fire in 1871. It was pulled from the smoking debris intact, it has never been restored and is today displayed with its smoke-blackened gilt and dents at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris
Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars, he won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history, he was born in Corsica to a modest family of Italian origin from minor nobility. He was serving as an artillery officer in the French army when the French Revolution erupted in 1789.
He rose through the ranks of the military, seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution and becoming a general at age 24. The French Directory gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and the Italian monarchs aligned with the Habsburgs—winning every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year while establishing "sister republics" with local support, becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt, he became First Consul of the Republic. Napoleon's ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, he became the first Emperor of the French in 1804. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over the Russian Empire and Austrian Empire at the Battle of Austerlitz which led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high-water mark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July. Napoleon invaded the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, declared his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain in 1808; the Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, ended in victory for the Allies against Napoleon.
The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states Russia. The Russians were unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade and violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon into another war; the French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The campaign did not yield the decisive victory Napoleon wanted, it resulted in the collapse of the Grande Armée and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in the War of the Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, but his tactical victory at the minor Battle of Hanau allowed retreat onto French soil; the Allies invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power.
Napoleon took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition which defeated him at the Battle of Waterloo in June; the British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years at the age of 51. Napoleon's influence on the modern world brought liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries and large parts of modern Italy and Germany, he implemented fundamental liberal policies throughout Western Europe. His Napoleonic Code has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts states: "The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, so on—were championed, consolidated and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire".
The ancestors of Napoleon descended from minor Italian nobility of Tuscan origin who had come to Corsica fr
Louis-Simon Boizot was a French sculptor whose models for biscuit figures for Sèvres porcelain are better-known than his large-scale sculptures. Boizot was the son of a designer at the Gobelins manufacture of tapestry. At sixteen, he became a student at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture and worked in the atelier of the sculptor René-Michel Slodtz, with whom Houdon trained. Boizot took the Prix de Rome for sculpture for a sojourn at the French Academy in Rome. On his return to Paris he married Marguerite Virginie Guibert, daughter of the sculptor Honoré Guibert, he was admitted to the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in 1778 and exhibited at the annual salons until 1800. His portrait busts of Louis XVI and Joseph II, executed during the Emperor's visit to his sister Marie Antoinette, were executed in 1777 and reproduced in biscuit porcelain at Sèvres. A subtly nuanced decorative panel in low relief, an allegory of Les Eléments, ca. 1783 is at the Getty Museum. In 1787, a royal commission from the comte d’Angiviller director of the Bâtiments du Roi, for a series of heroic statues of illustrious French men for Versailles, resulted in Boizot's bust of Racine.
Boizot was one of the main artists whose work was included in the collection of the Comédie-Française at the end of the 18th century. Others were Jean-Joseph Foucou, Augustin Pajou and Pierre-François Berruer. From 1773 to 1800 Boizot directed the sculpture workshop at Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, producing the series of white unglazed biscuit figures with a matte finish imitating marble, in which Neoclassicism was softened by a Rococo sweetness, or by a sentimental moralizing, such as in his hard-paste Sèvres porcelain group of a woman giving aid to a crouching woman with two children, allegorical of Charity, ca 1785, now at the Getty Museum; such figures could be combined in a surtout de table. A vase produced at Sèvres, c 1787, in a classic amphora shape was known as a Vase Boizot Boizot's connection with the piece is unclear: he provided the models for the gilt-bronze snakes that form handles. Boizot produced terracotta models for gilt-bronze clock cases, such as the allegorical figures of the "Avignon" clock in the Wallace Collection, London and chased by Pierre Gouthière, 1777, exceptionally, for gilt-bronze furniture mounts on French royal furniture, where the meticulously kept accounts of the Garde-Meuble permit his role as modeller to be identified.
Such a case is provided by the pair of draped female caryatid figures, balancing baskets on their heads and holding flowers and grapes in their laps applied to the corners of a drop-front secretary, produced under the direction of the sculptor and entrepreneur Jean Hauré for Louis XVI's Cabinet-Intérieur at Compiègne, 1786-87. Among a host of craftsmen Boizot received 144 livres for his terracotta model, "de stil antique".. Boizot's models for seated reading and writing female figures, conventionally called L'Étude and La Philosophie destined to be executed in Sèvres biscuit porcelain, were copied in gilt-bronze by the ciseleur-doreur François Remond and assembled as mantel clocks retailed by the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre. Three were purchased for Louis XVI at Saint-Cloud. During the Revolution, he was a member of the Commission des Monuments in 1792. From 1805 he held a chair at the Academie des Beaux-Arts, he executed the sculpture for the Fontaine du Palmier erected in 1808 in the Place du Châtelet, Paris, in a more severe and bombastic Empire style.
It celebrates Napoleon's return from Egypt. With a gilded Victory that surmounts a column with sphinxes spouting water at the base; the original of the Victory is in the gardens of the Musée Carnavalet. L. S. Lami, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l'école française au dix-huitième siècle 1910. Francis J. B. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection, vol. I, no. 107, vol. II, p 563 Louis-Simon Boizot Louis-Simon Boizot in American public collections, on the French Sculpture Census website
French Empire mantel clock
A French Empire-style mantel clock is a type of elaborately decorated mantel clock made in France during the Napoleonic Empire between 1804–1814/15, although the timekeepers manufactured throughout the Bourbon Restoration are included within this art movement since they share subject, decorative elements and style. By the end of the 18th century, from the mid-1770s on, the French clocks participated of a new art movement; the predominant style in architecture, painting and the decorative arts, that had come into its own during the last years of Louis XV's life, chiefly as a reaction to the excesses of the Rococo but through the popularity of the excavations at ancient Herculaneum and Pompeii, in Italy. Therefore, the clocks did without the excessive ornamentation and overelaborate designs of the preceding Rococo style so typical of the Louis XV reign; the timekeepers manufactured both over the Louis XVI and the French First Republic historical periods incorporated this new artistic language with classical designs and motifs.
In the case of the Louis XVI pieces, stone was combined with gilded and/or patinated bronze, although certain cases were cast in bronze. Some models were architectural. During the 1790s, the production of gilded-bronze increased as working conditions became easier; the freedom of trade initiated by the French Revolution allowed many casters, who during the ancien régime worked in workshops limited to making bronze, to develop large factories. They took advantage of this opportunity to execute all stages of bronze making within one factory and drew, gilded and sold objects of their own workshops. Artisans still benefited from pre-Revolution training and worked according to the standards of a luxury art from the ancien régime, but they had better means of production and organization; the use of gilt-bronze to make luxury goods could be argued to have reached its peak at the beginning of the 19th century in France. This medium was not new, as it had enjoyed international reputation in Europe since the reign of Louis XIV that continued during the entire ancien régime.
One reason for this success is the technical qualities inherent in bronze. Cheaper than gold and silver, it is a common material easy both to mold and ennoble by gilding with mercury. For this reason, it became the favorite material for clock cases and furniture ornaments. Thanks to the skill of remarkable bronze casters and chasers these objects were not timekeepers, but became objets d'art; this golden age ended in the late 1820s, when the generation of craftsmen and laborers died out, cheaper metals started to be more used and bronze casting entered into a higher mechanization, sacrificing craftsmanship in furtherance of productivity and reduction in costs and manufacturing time. In the Empire style timepieces, bronze was the main material used and both the patinated and specially ormolu techniques were extensively used, reaching its zenith during this age. Indeed, the fine modeling and patina finishes used in these series-produced pendulum clocks are matchless. Most cases were cast in bronze and others combined with a stone base made of marble, alabaster or porphyry.
However and carved crystal were employed too. During this period there were between 40 and 60 workshops with founders, gilders and chasers in Paris; the founders made a wax model from a draft and from this wax model a negative plaster cast was made, which could be reproduced more often. Using this plaster cast a mould was made, in which the bronze was cast. By combining figures and mountings several versions of one design were produced. Due to exposure to the harmful mercury fumes caused during the "dorure au mercure" process most gilders did not survive beyond 40 years of age as a consequence of mercury poisoning. In those days, they took all kind of precautions, in particular chewing bread, better companies gave them a piece of leather to be placed over the tongue a silver coin on it and at the end of the day the coin had "turned" to gold, there was a kind of mask devised to inhale the air from behind the head, but none of these measures were in any way sufficient; this provoked that the use of this hazardous chemical element was outlawed by the French legislation after around 1830, although continued to be employed until circa 1900 and was still in use around 1960 in few workshops.
To replace ormolu, other gilding techniques were utilized instead. Regarding the mechanism, towards the end of the 18th century, round clock movements became a reliable mass-produced product. Known as "Pendule de Paris", they were an 8-day movement with anchor escapement, silk thread suspended pendulum with a count wheel striking on a bell every hour and half-hour. By the 1840s the simple and effective silk suspension was being replaced by various adjustable spring suspension systems, it is necessary to emphasize that unlike the clocks built in the 18th century, where the majority of them were signed, the authorship in many of the Empire ones remain anonymous, making it difficult to attribute one particular work to a certain bronze sculptor. To this must be added that it was a common practice among bronziers selling pieces to each other and to copy or readapt others' designs; when signed, they bear the name on the dial and could be the bronzier's name as well as the re