The Louvre Sculpture

The Louvre Sculpture

The Louvre Museum in Paris is home to some of the world’s most beloved artworks. Here are a few highlights from their collection that you should see while visiting!

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is an exquisite ancient Greek sculpture that has graced the top of the Louvre’s Daru grand staircase since 1884. Though this stunning work lacks both arms and its head, it still manages to captivate with its beauty.

The Dying Slave

The Dying Slave is one of Michelangelo’s renowned sculptures located at the Louvre. Crafted in 1513, this piece was originally part of Pope Julius II’s funerary monument when he passed away in 1513.

Michelangelo’s most ambitious commission to date, he spent years selecting the marble for this statue that stands at 2.28 metres (72 feet) high. Unfortunately, he had to abandon the project several times throughout his career and only finished it after Julius II passed away.

Michelangelo ultimately gifted these sculptures to a Florentine named Roberto Strozzi, who in turn presented them to King Louis XVI of France as a memorial to his friend. Nowadays they reside at the Louvre Museum after passing through many hands throughout the centuries.

As you can see from the figurative positioning of the Dying Slave, he appears to be suffering in some way as he is bound by a band around his chest. It’s unclear whether he truly is dying or just in some sort of dreamlike state.

Similar to the figure’s left arm, which is twisted behind its back, and right foot planted firmly on the base, the figure’s right foot shows signs of trying to escape something mysterious – possibly physical, spiritual or political slavery – through sheer determination.

This stunning artwork brings together the beauty of painting and sculpture in one breathtaking masterpiece. If you ever have the chance to visit the Louvre, I highly recommend taking a look at this magnificent masterpiece.

I chose this artwork because it serves as an exemplary example of how Renaissance artists used classical works as inspiration for their artworks. Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, in particular, inspired this piece and is another work on my list to visit in person.

The Rebellious Slave

Michelangelo’s masterpiece The Rebellious Slave can be admired at the Louvre in Paris. Measuring 2.15 meters high and dating back to 1513, this marble sculpture stands as one of his masterpieces.

Michelangelo created this striking sculpture to draw attention to how slaves were being mistreated by their masters. Additionally, he wanted them to know that he felt strongly about this issue and had created it as a testament to his desire for liberation.

This sculpture depicts a slave struggling to free himself from the chains that hold his hands behind his back. He contorts his torso and twists his head in an effort to free himself from these restraints.

Michelangelo also depicted the slave as if it were trying to move towards the viewer, creating an immersive spatial effect for this monument.

He achieved this by having the slave raise his shoulder and knee so that viewers could observe him moving.

Michelangelo crafted this sculpture out of rough-hewn stone, leaving its marks behind. It’s clear that he wasn’t finished with his work as there are numerous chisels and hammer marks visible throughout.

Michelangelo was busy at work on Pope Julius II’s tomb when he was commissioned to create these two sculptures in 1513.

This was the second version of the tomb, featuring sculptures in its lower portion. Unfortunately, these elements were ultimately removed from its final design and no longer form part of this iconic monument.

Today, these sculptures can be found among the treasures housed at the Louvre in Paris. They serve as an inspiring example of art created with various materials.

The Rebellious Slave and Dying Slave are Michelangelo’s two only remaining marble sculptures at the Louvre, providing visitors with a rare insight into his style and ability to use various materials in crafting these masterpieces.

Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss

Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, commonly referred to as The Louvre Sculpture, is an iconic work of art by Antonio Canova that was commissioned by Russian Prince Nikolay Yusupov during his visit to Italy in 1794 on behalf of Empress Catherine II.

This sculpture is inspired by Lucius Apuleius’ Latin novel The Golden Ass, commonly known as Metamorphoses. This story tells of the love between Psyche and Cupid, immortalized in sculpture.

Venus was jealous of Psyche because she was so beautiful, so much so that people began to worship her. To regain some of that attention she had lost, Venus intended to turn Psyche into an ugly monster with one of Cupid’s arrows; however, her plan backfired when Cupid accidentally struck himself with one of his arrows.

He became madly in love with her and abducted her. They lived together happily ever after for over a thousand years until her passing away.

To become married, Psyche and Cupid had to pass some tough tests. The first required them to journey into Hades and bring back a flask filled with divine beauty. Although prohibited from looking inside, curiosity got the better of her and she peered inside anyway.

After returning the jar to Venus, she promised Psyche that if she completed all of the other tasks outlined for her, she could stay with her husband. Psyche was then sent on several more missions – one of the most difficult being traveling to the underworld and collecting some of Proserpina’s beauty to give back to Venus in a container.

When Psyche finally emerged from the Underworld, she was curious and opened the container to find it not filled with beauty but instead contained a poisonous vapor that quickly put her to sleep.

Canova captures Cupid, his quiver and arrows prowling on the rock where his beloved lies unconscious. He captures her head, embraces her arms, and holds her body in his hands for an eloquent depiction of this moment in time.

The Wedding at Cana

This painting, depicting Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding feast, was painted by Italian Renaissance master Paolo Veronese in 1563 and has become one of the most renowned works of art by him. It was commissioned by Benedictine monks of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice to hang in their refectory.

At the time of Veronese’s painting, The Wedding at Cana was one of Europe’s most beloved works, praised for both its religious resonance and visual impact. It hung in the monastery refectory until Napoleon stole it away to Paris where it is now displayed at the Louvre museum.

The wedding at Cana, like so many of Jesus’ miracle stories in the New Testament, has become an iconic part of Christian culture. It symbolizes marriage as well as being his first public miracle as recorded in John’s Gospel.

At the center of the canvas, Jesus and Mary stand in a traditional biblical scene surrounded by servants and guests dressed in contemporary 16th century Venetian clothing. On either side of them sit musicians – musician-artists popular at that time in Venetian society – as well as banquet officials responsible for overseeing food and wine service to guests.

They are flanked by leashed and restrained dogs, signifying loyalty and decorum. Additionally, an hourglass – a symbol of vanity – stands in the foreground.

These figures, along with the carver, form the central axis of the work, providing an iconic focus for its entire composition. Gilbert suggests these figures prefigure the Eucharistic meal and thus convey religious significance through their use of realistic markers related to banqueting and eating.

The realism of the scene is further enhanced through music and sound effects, including a windmill and chimes. These elements aim to capture the natural splendor of Jesus’ event while bringing it alive. But the sculpture also includes more mundane details like gossip between guests or worries about food supplies – an important nod to how stories were often told and interpreted both by Jesus’ followers as well as those who came to His aid.