Masterpieces of the Louvre – Venus, Mona, Nike...

Masterpieces of the Louvre…

The Louvre is absolutely filled with works of art and many of them — like the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa & the Nike of Samothrace — are downright masterpieces. This museum is huge at 650,000 square feet with 35,000 pieces on display, and it's impossible to see all the masterpieces in one visit, let alone all of the artwork on display


Our Top-Rated Museum Tours in Paris

1. Louvre 2-Hour VIP Tour… This small-group option is the best experience

2. 3-Hour Louvre Semi-Private Tour… Feel like a VIP on a small group tour

3. Musée d'Orsay Impressionist Tour… The top-rated museum tour in Paris

4. The Paris Museum Pass… Free entry to over 60 museums and monuments

Make the Most of Your Time at the Louvre

Nike of Samothrace A guided tour of the Louvre makes the most of your time at the museum

To help you make the best of your brief time in this art colossus, here we present some of the most popular and downright iconic works of art, including the Venus di Milo. But Venus just a start! You can probably name half a dozen famous pieces off the top of your head — Leonardo de Vinci's Mona Lisa, the Nike of Samothrace, and all those oversized French paintings by David and others! Take a calming breath and use this handy guide to help prepare for your visit.

As we've mentioned, the very best way to take in the masterpieces and have the best Louvre experience is on a skip-the-line tour of the museum with an expert guide who not only leads you past the queues, but take you directly to the most renowned works of art, bringing each one to life with fascinating explanations. It's the way we still visit the Louvre!

Venus di Milo

Venus di Milo Venus di Milo, AKA Aphrodite of Milos, photo by Mark Craft

The armless Aphrodite of Milos (as she is otherwise called) has captured the imagination of art lovers since it was discovered on the Greek island of Milos in 1820 by a Greek peasant and a French naval officer. She arrived at the Louvre the next year and was the subject of an intense marketing campaign, selling it as the French version of the Medici Venus, which had been looted by Napoleon but returned to Italy in 1815. The statue dates from 100 BCE.

  • Location – Sully Wing, Ground Floor, Parthenon Room, Room 7

Leonardo de Vinci's Mona Lisa

Leonardo de Vinci's Mona Lisa Mona Lisa & her fans, photo by Mark Craft

La Gioconda, as she is also known, is arguably the most famous painting in history. Leonardo de Vinci began painting this portrait of Lisa del Gioconda in about 1504, while he was living in Florence. He was 52 years old at the time.

De Vinci later moved to Milan and then to the Vatican and then to France, whence he was invited by Francis I, all the while hauling the Mona Lisa in his luggage. Francis bought (or perhaps) inherited the now-famous painting and hung it in Château Fontainebleau. Louis XIV moved it to Versailles, but the French Revolutionaries transferred it to Louvre. Napoleon, by the way, moved it to his bedroom in the Palais des Tuileries. (That palace was destroyed in the Paris Commune of 1871.)

  • Location – Denon Wing, 1st Floor, Room 6

Nike of Samothrace

Nike of Samothrace Nike of Samothrace, photo by Mark Craft

The Winged Victory of Samothrace was created around about 200 BCE to honor Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, as thanks for success in a naval battle.

It was discovered on the Greek island of Samothrace (naturally!) in 1863 and excavated by Charles Champoiseau, the French consul. The statue was found in pieces and what we see at the Louvre Art Museum today is a re-assembly of those pieces. It was placed in the Louvre in 1884 and commands a dominating, though headless, position at the top of the Daru staircase.

  • Location – Denon Wing, Ground Floor, Escalier Daru

A Selection of Other Louvre Masterpieces

Vermeer Jan Vermeer,
The Lacemaker
David Jacques-Louise David,
Coronation of Napoleon
Sabine Women Nicolas Poussin,
Rape of the Sabine Women
The Cheat La Tour,
Cheat with Ace of Diamonds
Delatour Delatour,
Marquis de Pompadour
Delacroix Eugene Delacroix,
Death of Sardanapalus
The Wedding Feast at Cana Veronese,
The Wedding Feast at Cana
Mary Magdalene Gregor Erhart,
St. Mary Magdalene
Sarcophagus Sarcophagus with the
Story of Prometheus


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VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
This romantic dinner cruise includes champagne, wine & a classic meal. Choose the Service Privilege option for the best seating, best meal, and the ultimate experience.
Reserve your table…

The 8 Departments of the Louvre Museum

How It's Organized

The Louvre museum collections are grouped into eight curatorial departments. Use our guides to take a peek into each department to help you map out your day at the museum —

  1. Egyptian Antiquities…
  2. Greek & Roman Art…
  3. Near Eastern Antiquities…
  4. Paintings…
  5. Islamic Art…
  6. Sculptures…
  7. Decorative Arts…
  8. Prints & Drawings…

Louvre Art Museum Tours

Line-ups at the Louvre

Here's the problem with being so popular — with ten million visitors a year the Louvre is always crowded and lines are long. By planning ahead, however, you can avoid most of the lines and go directly to the Mona Lisa on a Louvre art museum tour. You not only get into the museum quickly, but you're in the company of an expert guide who can make your visit more illuminating.

We hate standing in long lines, and this is the way we visit the Louvre. That is, we sign up for a skip-the-line tour. Check out our selection of recommended tours of the Louvre, the most popular art museum in the world.

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