Professor of Art History, Rebecca Trittel, gave the third of six faculty presentations on Wednesday, October 10. The Louvre Museum was the focus of her talk. Those who attended learned about the building program (and demolition) that resulted in the contemporary appearance and layout of the massive buildings that became the world’s first public museum after the French Revolution. The most recent addition is the glass pyramid, which was designed by I. M. Pei in 1989 as the entrance to the main galleries of the Louvre. Professor Trittel stressed that the Louvre is an inexhaustible museum, and cautioned that one cannot, and should not try to, see everything in one visit. She encouraged everyone to plan out what they wanted to see and gave some pointers and highlights about how to go about it.For instance, you can search the Louvre collection to study specific works before you arrive in Paris. Professor Trittel reminded everyone that the labels and other wall text in the Louvre will be in French, so if you don’t read French, a museum map is essential (look for the one with the British flag for the English version). Better yet, study the interactive floor plan or print the English version of the floor plan in advance of your trip. The underground floors are dedicated primarily to sculpture (cheered by Allen Peterson, professor sculpture), and paintings fill the main ground floor. The Louvre will be open from 9 am – 6 pm every day of our visit, plus it is open late until 9:45 pm on Wednesday night and on Friday night. It’s free during these late evening hours which means that you could go to the Louvre on Wednesday night of your Paris trip without using one of the two days on the two-day Museum Pass. Of note, an exhibition of late paintings by Raphael opens on October 11.
A student asked Professor Trittel if visitors may take photos of artwork in the Louvre. The answer is yes, provided that no flash is used (and of course, don’t forget your sketchbook). The main hall of the Louvre was originally designed as a place for aristocrats to stroll – you’ll need to wear your most comfortable shoes so that your feet hold out as long as your eyes.