How To Take a Virtual Tour of Paris' Louvre and See Every Masterpiece From Home
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Wondering if you can tour the Louvre virtually from home? Here's my guide on how to explore all the Louvre's must see masterpieces online from home.
If you love art, the Louvre is likely on your Paris or museum bucket list. The Louvre is the largest, busiest, most visited museum in the world. It has 35,000 works of art from the 6th century BC to the 19th century AD. It's a sumptuous Renaissance palace itself.
As you might guess from that description, the Louvre can be an intimidating madhouse. It's a bacchanalia of crowds, flashes, selfie sticks, and people trying to skip queues and touch the art. It can seem overwhelming.
Now, you can avoid the throngs of crowds and tour the Louvre virtually at your leisure from home. I'll tell you how to see all the Louvre's must see masterpieces from your couch. You can get your da Vinci or Michelangelo fix in blissful solitude.
Layout of the Louvre
The Louvre is a U shape, divided into three wings: Denon, Sully, and Richelieu. Each of the wings has four floors.
The Denon Wing is home to the Louvre's best known art work, including the world's most famous painting, the Mona Lisa. The Sully Wing is known for its statuary and antiquities. The Richelieu Wing houses the lavish apartments of Napoleon III and some famed Dutch art works.
Virtual Tour of Louvre Masterpieces, Wing By Wing
Let's take an online virtual tour of the Louvre, wing by wing. You can see all the must see masterpieces via 360 video tours, YouTube videos, or online tours on the Louvre Website itself. For a lengthy overall YouTube tour of the Louvre, click here.
The Denon Wing
The Denon Wing is the most visited part of the Louvre. It boasts the fabulously ornate Apollo Gallery, with high arches and frescoed ceilings. It's a shrine to Sun King Louis XIV. The paintings were begun by Charles Le Brun and completed by Eugene Delacroix.
1. French Paintings in the Denon Wing
The Denon Wing is most renowned for its iconic French paintings from the Neoclassical and Romantic periods of art history. The must see French masterpieces include:
Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People
Jacques-Louis David, The Coronation of Napoleon
Theodore Gericault, Raft of the Medusa
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Grand Odalisque
You can take a virtual tour of the recently restored Apollo Gallery on the Louvre's website here. You can learn about the Coronation of Napoleon from this Louvre YouTuber. You can take a virtual video tour of the world's most famous French painting, Liberty Leading the People here. And learn about the Grand Odalisque here.
Via my blog, you can also explore the Louvre's underrated masterpieces in the Denon Wing. I also have a guide to what I think is the best painting in the Louvre, Gericault's Raft of the Medusa, a then-scandalous painting based on a true story.
2. Italian Paintings in the Denon Wing
The Denon Wing also boasts treasures from the Italian Renaissance. This is where you'll find works by Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Titian. The must see masterpieces include:
Da Vinci, Mona Lisa
Da Vinci, The Virgin and Child With St. Anne
Titian, Pastoral Concert
Raphael, Portrait of Baldasarre Castiglione
Paolo Veronese, The Wedding Feast at Cana
You can take a virtual 360 tour of the Grand Gallery, which houses much of the Louvre's Italian art. If you're a Mona Lisa fan, the Louvre is offering the museum’s first virtual reality experience, which brings to life the story of the enigmatic portrait. You can also take a virtual tour of the Mona Lisa here, with Smarthistory, an artsy YouTube channel.
In the Louvre's busiest room, the Mona Lisa stares across at Veronese's massive Wedding Feast at Cana. You can take a virtual tour and get the full scoop on the Louvre's largest painting here.
You can virtually tour Raphael's paintings, including Baldasarre, on Google Arts & Culture. Learn about Titian's Pastoral Concert, which inspired Edouard Monet's groundbreaking painting Luncheon on the Grass, here.
3. Sculptures in the Denon Wing
If you prefer sculpture to painting, the Denon Wing has one of the world's most magnificent sculptures -- the Winged Victory of Samothrace. It also has a room on the ground dedicated to Italian sculpture, the Michelangelo Gallery. It's one of my favorites spots in the Louvre.
It's home to Michelangelo's Dying Slave and Rebellious Slave, from 1513-15. These sculptures, which seem to struggle to escape the marble, were originally intended for the Tomb of Pope Julius II in Rome. But Michelangelo got distracted with the ceiling of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel and could never finish the tomb.
You can also find Antonio Canova's incredibly romantic Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss. It's considered Canova's master work. It wasn't meant to be looked at from one angle but rather built to revolve.
You can take a virtual tour of Michelangelo's Slaves here, a virtual tour of Canova's work on Google Arts & Culture, and a virtual tour of Canova's Psyche here. You can take a virtual 360 tour of the Winged Victory here.
2. The Sully Wing
In the Sully Wing, you'll find some of the world's most beautiful sculptures, antiquities, and the remains of the Medieval Louvre.
One of the Louvre's greatest ladies, a Hellenistic masterpiece, is here -- the Venus de Milo. Even without arms, Venus de Milo is considered the classical epitome of female beauty.
You can also see another masterwork, Sleeping Hermaphrodite, a mythological merger of a male and female body. The ancient sculpture was discovered in Rome near the Baths of Diocletian. Cardinal Scipione Borghese commissioned the Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini to carve the mattress in 1619. He later sold the piece to the French when he was strapped for cash.
The Egyptian Antiquities are a well loved highlight of the Sully Wing. The collection features the 12 ton Great Sphinx of Tanis, model ships, ancient sculptures, a massive statue of Ramses II, and a sarcophagus room.
The medieval Louvre is also a fascinating place. Originally, the Louvre was a 12th century fortress built by King Philippe Auguste. The lower levels are all that remain. Archeologists discovered and excavated the underground medieval remains during the construction of I.M. Pei's pyramid in 1983-85.
You can take a virtual tour of all the Louvre's Roman Antiquities here, the Venus de Milo here, and the Sleeping Hermaphrodite here. You can take a virtual tour of the famed Egyptian Antiquities here and walk around the Medieval Louvre here.
3. The Richelieu Wing
In Richelieu Wing, you can admire the Louvre's Mesopotamian Antiquities, Napoleon III's Second Empire rooms, sculptures, and some amazing Dutch masterpieces.
The Richelieu Wing boasts the spectacular Cour Marly, a spacious glass roofed courtyard. It's stuffed with 17th and 18th marble and white stone sculptures, many commissioned by Sun King Louis XIV and Louis XV. There's also a magnificent Fountain of Diana, dating from 1550.
Perhaps the most famous part of the Richelieu Wing is the Napoleon III apartments. They were built between 1852-57 to accommodate visiting dignitaries. They're sumptuous.
Crystal chandeliers glitter, gilded furniture gleams, and the ceilings sport beautiful frescos -- all set amid red velvet and red drapery. The Rococo state dining room could seat almost 100 people.
You can virtually tour the Cour Puget here and the Cour Marly here. You can take a virtual tour of Napoleon's Apartments here.
The Richelieu Wing is also home to some unmissable Dutch old master paintings, including:
Johanned Vermeer, The Lacemaker
Johanned Vermeer, The Astronomer
Rembrandt, Bathsheba at Her Bath.
Hieronymous Bosch, Ship of Fools
Georges de la Tour, The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds