The Louvre is Human Culture

By Hillary Bosch

Opinions Editor

Going through art museums is like taking naps: if it’s too short you’re grumpy, if it’s too long you’re groggy and more tired. You gotta find that sweet spot of just how long you can wander through a gallery in order to maximize energy and ultimate art appreciation.

When my friend and I went to the Louvre we knew we had to plan accordingly. It’s the largest art museum in the world, with 38,000 pieces of art spread across over 700,000 square feet, not to mention that the Louvre Palace was established as a museum over 200 years ago. Before that it was a royal fortress then palace! Much to my friend’s dismay I was just as interested in the building as I was in the art objects, oops.

So we had to make sure we picked exactly what rooms and pieces we wanted to see. If you put each wing next to each other the museum would stretch for 8 miles! (Sorry I just can’t get over how l a r g e it is) So we had to make an itinerary: minimum walking and gaping, maximum knowledge.

The first statue you need to see is the Winged Victory of Samothrace, circa approximately 150 B.C. Meant to be viewed from a certain angle, the winged statue of Nike perches on a ship’s bow with wind whipping at her garments. The statue is right at the crux of a stairwell and is absolutely massive, impossible to miss.

After you are WOWED by the fact people could even make something that beautiful 2000 years ago, head on over to the Venus de Milo, circa 100 B.C., to get WOWED again. The armless beauty is truly something to behold in person. When you look up to see her face, you see a face of absolute confidence, clarity, determination, and yet somehow relaxation. If she is reflective of her time period, now I understand how the ancients accomplished so much! What a determined woman.

Now it’s time to go back a little further to Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia. The Louvre has a sphinx. Not a little one, it’s real big, one of the biggest outside of Egypt. Dated 2600 B.C., again it’s proof the ancients were far more hardcore than we are. I tried to carve soap once and failed. What the hell, I never would have survived before 1950.
And then if you walk a little further you can find the Law Code of Hammurabi from 1792–1750 B.C. Not only is it the oldest text from Old Babylon and one of the first inscribed social policies, it’s ALSO CARVED INTO ROCK. Again, I couldn’t even carve a nose into soap much less carve one of the most important socio-economic documents of the ancient world into a BOULDER.

The Louvre helped me to remember how talented and truly impressive humans can be. As an Environmental Studies major, I often settle into a comfortable state of despising anything related to the human race and their destruction of everything around them. So though it looks like a dumb statement, it actually is true. The Louvre is overflowing with the best humanity has to offer, it’s easy to leave in high spirits. However, it would take at least three days to appropriately appreciate everything it has to offer, so if you intend to visit map out your journey for this trip… and your next one! You’ll want to go back as soon as you leave.

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