Treasures of the Louvre

Synopsis: This is a documentary about the history of the louvre museum, the building and the historical people influencing it as reflected in the various treasures inside it.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Alastair Laurence
90 min

This programme contains

some strong language.

My name's Andrew Hussey

and I'm the Dean of the University

of London Institute in Paris.

I first came to

the city as a teenager

and I have had a big connection

with it ever since.

Now, I live and work here.

I still love the place

and I'm still fascinated by it.

But these days, I travel

around Paris not just for pleasure,

but also to explore the places that

inspire my writing about the city.

But there's still one trip in

Paris that I always make

with a fair amount of trepidation.

And that's here.

To the Louvre.

As you can see, the Louvre is big,

brooding and vast.

To be honest, I've always been quite

intimidated by this most

massive of museums.

But in this film,

I want to change the way that I,

and maybe you, see it too.

So I want you to come with me

on a tour of this extraordinary


and to do a little bit of

time-travelling in French history.

On the way, I am going to try

and make sense of a place

that's jam-packed with over 35,000

pieces of art

that you'll find in mile after

mile after mile of galleries.

It's a building that's over 800

years old and bursting with history.

So come with me and see the Louvre


from a medieval fortress to a royal


and then to a modern-day museum.

We will look at the great art

of da Vinci,



and Gericault.

We will enjoy

the glories of antiquity

and explain why the magnificent

artworks that you can see today

arrived in the museum,

and what they tell us about both

the Louvre and France.

I want to argue that if you know

the secrets of the Louvre,

know its history, know the

glorious art within these walls,

then I think

you can understand France.

The Louvre.

Well, there's lots and

lots and lots and lots of art here.

So, where to begin?

Why not start with one of the oldest

paintings in the museum?

From the 15th century, a work of art

with a gruesome subject.

It will give us our first clue to

the Louvre's long history.

Look at this.

This is a painting called La

Crucifixion du Parlement de Paris.

There's a lot of interesting

stuff going on here.

Here in the foreground, for example,

this bloke with his head

in his hands.

That's Saint Denis, who was

one of the patron saints of Paris.

Saint Denis was martyred

in the third century,

beheaded on the high ground above

the city,

the present-day quartier

of Montmartre.

But his is not the only

image of suffering.

At the centre of the painting

is Christ on the cross.

On one side of him

is the grieving Virgin Mother,

comforted by Mary Magdalene. On

the other, St John the Evangelist.

And this is art with a purpose.

It was deliberately hung in the main

chamber of the Parlement de Paris,

a reminder to lawmakers

to show due humility

in the face of divine justice.

But one other detail provides

an insight into more earthly

matters of bricks and mortar.

This is the best

approximation of what the Louvre

would have looked liked

to medieval Parisians.

What they saw was a fortress,

a citadel of military power.

The medieval Louvre

was built strategically close

to the River Seine,

along the walls

of the medieval city.

A 30-metre tower looked out

to the West and the enemy,

the English, on a border sometimes

only 45 miles away.

The castle dominated

the Parisian skyline,

a very visible, a very deliberate

assertion of French power.

On the outside of today's museum,

there are a few clues to what

lies underneath.

The opening of a well and a cesspit.

Below, there are the thick,

strong walls and tall palisades

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Treasures of the Louvre" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 28 May 2020. <>.

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