The Underestimated Richelieu Wing in Museum of Louvre

Ever since people talk about the Museum of Louvre, Denon Wing always the first and the highly recommended since three pieces of the most valuable art objects are gathered here: Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo. However, as the least crowded of 3 wings in the museum of Louvre, Richelieu wing is definitely worth for a tour.

You won’t find any big names in Richelieu wing, but Richelieu Wing preserved a lot of original palace decorations and the presents the history of the French monarchy. But sometimes, people just easy to forget that the Louvre was actually also a royal palace instead of just a museum. However, the funny thing is if I ever mentioned the Forbidden City in front of Chinese, the first impression will always be: ‘Right, that is the place for the Chinese former emperors and their 3000 wives’ instead of ‘Oh, that is a museum’. 

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Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace (from left to right) ©Tian Lan

Honestly speaking, I wasn’t really impressed by those so- called three treasures in Louvre, not only because Mona Lisa is behind the bullet-proof glass, all I can appreciate is the reflection of the lights; or I have been yelled by Chinese tourists that to move my ass in order them to take photos of the Winged Victory of Samothrace whilst I am wandering around to enjoy the details; or Venus de Milo is 3 feets away from me which seems the most down to earth masterpiece among three; but also the media already exploded them enough, documentaries, movies, history books, commercials, etc. Our lives have been bombarded by those big names, and the truth sometimes turns out rather surprisingly undeceived than amused.

Therefore, with a little bit disappointed and sadness for Pantheon (always sad for Pantheon), I moved my ass to the Richelieu wing where the place to cheer me up and remind me the meaning of arts.

"The Napoleon III Apartments are an exceptional record of Second Empire decorative art."  Photo credit: Tian Lan
“The Napoleon III Apartments are an exceptional record of Second Empire decorative art.” Photo credit: Tian Lan

Started with the decorative arts that back to middle ages to 1850s, reconstructed interiors with the furniture and glamorous decorations, jewellery, weapons, gold and gem silverware, each room has its own style and theme.

The ceiling of the apartment of Napoleon III ©Tian Lan
The ceiling of the apartment of Napoleon III ©Tian Lan

Keep walking until the end, suddenly, I realised that I am in a magnificent room with gigantic chandeliers and absolutely stunning decorations all around the room, the splendor filled with every single corner. This is the apartment of Napoleon III, though I found out that he never lived here at all afterward.

At this moment, I finally released, the truth is none of the three treasures are belongs to here except this view. After all, this is France, this is Paris, and I am inside of the Louvre Palace, originally built as a prison, then transformed into a palace, almost been demolished by Louis XV, then become the museum that we know today during the French Revolution.

French sculpture & Napoleon in his imperial robes © Tian Lan
French sculpture & Napoleon in his imperial robes © Tian Lan

There are so much more to discover in Richelieu wing, creepy French sculpture just like the one above, the smile definitely more down to earth than Mona Lisa’s one. The painting of Napoleon in his imperial robes, imaging how could this short guy can conquer half of the world once.

One day is definitely not enough to discover the Museum of Louvre, even the Richelieu wing; the three masterpieces are also not the only objects that you should focus on: the Coronation of Napoleon which also based in Denon Wing somehow shocked me since the tiny graph from the history book turns out a 10 metres by 6 metres oil painting in the real life.

Nevertheless, don’t forget the Richelieu Wing in the Louvre, at least, the Louvre is not only a museum, it is the place that witnesses the history of France since 1204.

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