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The Louvre: The Many Lives of the World’s Most
The Louvre: The Many Lives of the World’s Most

The Louvre: The Many Lives of the World’s Most Famous Museum

Product ID : 45000872

Galleon Product ID 45000872
Shipping Weight 1.42 lbs
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Manufacturer Atlantic Monthly Press
Shipping Dimension 9.21 x 6.5 x 1.38 inches
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About The Louvre: The Many Lives Of The World’s Most

Product Description The fascinating and little-known story of the Louvre, from its inception as a humble fortress to its transformation into the palatial residence of the kings of France and then into the world’s greatest art museum. Some ten million people from all over the world flock to the Louvre each year to enjoy its incomparable art collection. Yet few of them are aware of the remarkable history of that place and of the buildings themselves―a fascinating story that historian James Gardner elegantly chronicles in the first full-length history of the Louvre in English. More than 7,000 years ago, men and women camped on a spot called le Louvre for reasons unknown; a clay quarry and a vineyard supported a society there in the first centuries AD. A thousand years later, King Philippe Auguste of France constructed a fortress there in 1191, just outside the walls of a city far smaller than the Paris we know today. Intended to protect the capital against English soldiers stationed in Normandy, the fortress became a royal residence under Charles V two centuries later, and then the monarchy’s principal residence under the great Renaissance king François I in 1546. It remained so until 1682, when Louis XIV moved his entire court to Versailles. Thereafter the fortunes of the Louvre languished until the tumultuous days of the French Revolution when, during the Reign of Terror in 1793, it first opened its doors to display the nation’s treasures. Ever since―through the Napoleonic era, the Commune, two World Wars, to the present―the Louvre has been a witness to French history, and expanded to become home to a legendary collection, including such masterpieces as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, whose often-complicated and mysterious origins form a spectacular narrative that rivals the building’s grand stature. Includes a 16-page full-color insert, featuring images illustrating the history of the Louvre, a full-color endpaper map detailing the Louvre’s evolution from fortress to museum, and black-and-white images throughout the narrative. Review Praise for The Louvre “Courageous and erudite . . . James Gardner is bold to take in, and take on, what few mortals have the chance or the stamina to do . . . Open the book and enjoy the visit.”―Washington Post “Mysterious in effect, the Louvre is delightfully mysterious in history, too, as James Gardner shows in The Louvre . . . Gardner relates the long story of the Louvre, starting around the thirteenth century, when it was simply a castle, through its elevation as a palace, and then, in the seventeenth century, its expansion into service as an office building for French royalty . . . Gardner’s muscular, impatiently expert prose recalls Robert Hughes in his city books.”―Adam Gopnik, New Yorker “I hadn’t realized just how mythically resonant a museum could be until I read James Gardner’s eloquent encomium to the Louvre . . . This history is told with all the great verve, insight, and eye for detail that Mr. Gardner’s criticism is noted for . . . [His] passion also invites us to share his affection―and to plan a visit.”―Wall Street Journal “An eye-opener . . . Gardner makes every phase and transformation vivid . . . Anyone curious about how the Louvre into its present configuration will find this diligent book richly informative.”―Boston Globe “[An] extensive exploration of the Parisian cultural institution.”―Smithsonian Magazine “Chronicles the Parisian icon’s 800-year evolution from workaday fortress to beloved art institution.”―New York Post “Magisterial . . . The whole book is enlivened by his stories of the people involved, and by the lyricism with which he describes certain rooms . . . The book does what all good books of this kind should do: it makes me want to go back to the Louvre and see some of the things he writes about and that I never noticed before.”―Midwest Book Review “Engrossing . . . In elegant prose, Gardner describes how over the next 200 years [after 1793] the Louvre e