The Louvre Museum is a paradise for art lovers. It’s quite glamorous, surreal, and fabulously built.
Going to the Louvre Museum and witnessing its most iconic and famous artworks is an experience of a lifetime.
The most intriguing part is that every painting at the Louvre has a mysterious background and history.
Although the Louvre Museum owns more than 35,000 pieces of art, did you know only a handful of Louvre paintings bring ninety percent of Paris Museum visitors?
If you’re visiting the Paris Museum and are not certain where to start or which Louvre paintings to see first, here are our top suggestions.
With our pick of 25 must-see artworks displayed at the Louvre Museum, you will make the best use of your time!
Table of contents
- 1. Mona Lisa
- 2. The Raft of the Medusa
- 3. Liberty Leading the People
- 4. The Coronation of Napoleon
- 5. The Virgin of the Rocks
- 6. Oath of The Horatii
- 7. The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds
- 8. The Death of Sardanapalus
- 9. The Lacemaker
- 10. The Intervention of the Sabine Women
- 11. Grande Odalisque
- 12. The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
- 13. The Astronomer
- 14. The Massacre at Chios
- 15. Man with a Glove
- 16. Ship of Fools
- 17. The Fortune Teller
- 18. St. Michael Vanquishing Satan
- 19. The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons
- 20. Portrait of Louis XIV
- 21. The Barque of Dante
- 22. Madonna of Chancellor Rolin
- 23. Death of a Virgin
- 24. The Turkish Bath
- 25. The Arrival of Marie de Medici at Marseille
1. Mona Lisa
The number one reason most tourists visit the Paris Museum is to catch a glimpse of this most talked-about and expensive piece of art.
The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is one such work of art that nobody wants to miss taking a glance at during their visit.
Created in 1503, Da Vinci’s art was stolen and damaged a couple of times.
Despite everything, the Louvre still allows its visitors to take a look at it, which is safely stored in Room 711, Denom Wing, Level 1.
The size of the Mona Lisa (one of the famous Louvre museum paintings) is 77 cm x 53 cm.
It was created between 1503 to 1506, and was believed to continue until 1517.
According to Guinness World Records, Mona Lisa is considered the highest insurance value in the history of art.
Oil on poplar panel
Check out our Da Vinci Replica painting gallery if you wish to have one of his masterpieces handpainted just for you!
2. The Raft of the Medusa
The next well-known Louvre painting after Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is The Raft of the Medusa.
Looking at it may make you tremble because it depicts the scenes from the horrifying frigate Medusa, with crew begging to survive, in complete disparity.
Theodore Gericault beautifully displays the horrendous scenarios that left many visitors speechless.
The Louvre artwork is realist and comprises several elements like pain, disparity, hunger, and trauma.
The size of The Raft of the Medusa (one of the Louvre’s famous paintings) is 490 cm x 716 cm.
It was created between 1818 and 1819.
The Raft of the Medusa received a gold medal in the exhibition of Salon 1819.
(Also Read: Famous Paintings By Leonardo da Vinci)
3. Liberty Leading the People
The most meaningful Louvre painting affiliated with France’s 1830 Revolution is Liberty Leading the People
It demonstrates a lady in a gown with her breasts visible, standing over a pile of corpses, waving the tri-color.
Eugene Delacroix beautifully covered a historical scene of France, emphasizing the lady, which was over the years regarded as a symbol of Liberty and the Republic.
The Louvre art piece is stored safely in Room 700, Denom Wing, Level 1.
Liberty Leading the People (one of the best Louvre paintings) is 260 cm x 325 cm.
It was created in 1830.
Liberty Leading the People, one of the finest Louvre artworks, was first purchased by the government of the July Monarchy.
4. The Coronation of Napoleon
Magnificent yet detailed, The Coronation of Napoleon takes the viewer closer to what it looks like to be crowned.
This Louvre artwork is probably Jacques Louis David’s best of the best because of its subjects, background, and expression.
Probably the largest Louvre painting has been housed there for decades now. You may view it on the wall of room 75, Denom Wing, second floor of the Louvre museum.
The size of The Coronation of Napoleon (one of the best Louvre paintings) is 621 cm x 979 cm.
The Coronation of Napoleon, the expensive Louvre painting, was created in 1807.
The Coronation of Napoleon is known for its imposing dimensions. The 10-by-6-foot painting has been designated as one of the largest Louvre-famous artworks.
(Also Read: Luncheon of the Boating Party)
5. The Virgin of the Rocks
The Virgin of the Rock is probably Da Vinci’s largest painting from the Louvre.
It has an identical version stored at the National Gallery of London, with a few key differences, such as the difference in colors.
Although Da Vinci focused on three figures—John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary, and Baby Jesus—there’s another character—an angel named Uriel—next to the Virgin Mary.
The Louvre painting may look simple, with each character settling on the rock, but it tends to sprout new perspectives every time you look at it.
The size of The Virgin of The Rocks (one of the best Louvre paintings) is 199 x 122 cm.
It was created between 1483 and 1486.
There are two paintings of Leonardo da Vinci under the same title—Louvre Virgin Of The Rocks and London Virgin Of The Rocks
Oil on panel (transferred to canvas)
6. Oath of The Horatii
Another masterpiece by Jacques Louis David features the Horatti Brothers and their father taking vows to fight against the Alba.
The Louvre painting is very intense and meaningful, as women are shown sobbing and men, on the other side, look determined and fearless.
The Louvre artwork may have a dark vibe, but it’s quite patriotic—the depiction of subjects shows they have put civic responsibilities and patriotism ahead of family love.
This fine Louvre painting is located in Denon Wing Hall 75.
The size of The Oath of the Horatii (one of the most famous paintings in the Louvre museum) is 329.8 cm x 424.8 cm.
The Oath of the Horatii, a meaningful Louvre painting, was created in 1784.
Oath of the Horatii immediately became a huge success when displayed at the Louvre Museum for the first time.
7. The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds
How one can put themselves in a vulnerable and helpless situation just by being greedy is what this Louvre painting is about.
Created in 1638, the painting features four figures, three of whom conspire to loot the man sitting on the right, who is absolutely scared to show his cards.
He realized he was being tricked by opponents, and he had no choice but to surrender.
Georges’ art inspired many painters; even the world’s most famous canine artwork, Dogs Playing Poker, drew its inspiration from this Louvre painting.
Georges de La Tour
The size of The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds (one of the best Louvre paintings) is 106 cm x 146 cm.
The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds, one of the top paintings in the Louvre, was created between 1636-1638.
Due to its immense popularity, the artist made its second version, which is on display in the Kimbell Art museum, Texas.
8. The Death of Sardanapalus
Looking at the Death of Sardanapalus is disturbing as it depicts Sardanapalus, the cruel ruler of Assyria, lying in bed, watching his people, raping women, and stabbing men.
The famous Louvre painting is brimming with violence, chaos, sorrow, and whatnot!
Showcasing some disturbing and gut-wrenching scenes onto canvas was a whole new challenge because it ultimately drew criticism and hatred for the artist.
But with time, it gained its due credibility and became a huge success!
Despite performing disastrously at the Salon where it was first presented in 1828, it made it to the top. To some extent, this contributed to the Louvre museum’s success because it rarely held this type of art in the past.
The size of The Death of Sardanapalus (the famous painting in Louvre museum) is 392 cm x 496 cm.
The Death of Sardanapalus, one of the famous paintings in the Louvre, was created between 1827-1844.
The Death of Sardanapalus was a controversial topic at the Salon exhibition as its compositions were quite disturbing and chaotic in nature.
9. The Lacemaker
The Lacemaker is a famous Baroque painting, and the most solid and magnificent work by Johannes Vermeer ever recognized by the Louvre.
The Paris Museum bought it for 1,254 French francs, which was equivalent to $254 at the time.
But now that it’s worth 10 times more, perhaps it’s an asset that the Louvre never wants to put out on auction.
The Lacemaker shows the women working with utmost focus, care, and dedication, with minimal action yet quite impactful.
This artwork is hung on the wall of Room 837, in the Richelieu wing, on the second floor of the Louvre Museum.
The size of The Lacemaker (the best artwork at the Louvre museum) is 24.5 cm x 21 cm.
The Lacemaker, one of the most flawless paintings in the Louvre museum, was created between 1669-1670.
The Lacemaker” is one of the smallest oil on canvas paintings in the Louvre.
(Suggested: Rothko’s No. 61 (Rust & Blue)
10. The Intervention of the Sabine Women
The Louvre artwork is a stunning creation of a famous French artist—who was imprisoned by authorities for the characters portrayed in this art.
The artist showed scenes of France’s turmoil.
You may see bloodshed, chaos, and a warlike situation everywhere, but love prevailed—that’s what the artist wanted to show.
After a historical conflict and bloodshed, people had gotten reunited, and this famous Louvre painting emphasized the victory of love over hatred.
You may see this iconic Louvre painting in the Denom Wing, Room 702, on the first floor.
The size of The Intervention of the Sabine Women (one of the Louvre’s most famous paintings) is 385 cm x 522 cm.
The Intervention of the Sabine Women, one of the most expensive paintings in the Louvre museum, was created in 1799.
In 1819, The Intervention of the Sabine Women was sold to the Royal museum for 10,000 Francs.
11. Grande Odalisque
The Grande Odalisque is the most-celebrated nude artwork located in the Louvre museum.
Ingres conceptualized and produced this art by taking references from the Italian painters Titian and Giorgione.
Various art communities and groups praised Ingres for his detailed work, such as her head, lying body, elongated limbs, and solid blue background.
Every facet looked phenomenal and surreal.
The famous Neoclassicism artwork is located at level 1, Denom Wing, Room 702 Daru Neoclassicism.
The size of Grande Odalisque (one of the most famous Louvre paintings) is 88.9 cm x 162.56 cm.
Grande Odalisque, one of the Romanticism-era paintings in the Louvre, was created in 1814.
Grande Odalisque had always been a hot topic for criticism due to its portrayal of chaos and nudity, until the Louvre museum bought it.
12. The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
Louis XII commissioned Da Vinci, and he produced art that the King never received—later, the art was sold to the Louvre art Museum by an unknown owner.
The famous Louvre painting shows figures from three different generations indulge in various activities; for instance, Christ is seen grappling with a lamb, and the Virgin Mary, who is shown seated in Saint Anne’s lap, is restraining Christ.
The Jesus art looks quite appealing, but according to some art researchers, it has a mysterious background.
For some, the subjects seemed mildly enigmatic, and the way characters were portrayed sprouted countless suspicious stories.
Also Read: Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles
The size of The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (one of the best paintings in Louvre) is 168 cm x 112 cm.
The size of The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (one of the best paintings in Louvre) is 168 cm x 112 cm.
This Louvre painting is famous for its theme and mysterious storyline. The artist classically depicted three generations, exchanging variant emotions with each other.
Oil on wood
13. The Astronomer
The Louvre holds several art pieces that have been stolen quite a few times.
One of them is The Astronomer, which traveled from one place to another, until the Louvre Museum bought it from the Rothchild Family in 1983.
The Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer sketched two artworks—Astronomer and Geographer, with a minimal difference.
The latter was stored in Germany’s museum, the former is in the Louvre, as these paintings featured the same man who’s focused and determined.
The size of The Astronomer (one of the best paintings in the Louvre) is 51 cm x 45 cm.
The Astronomer (painting in the Louvre) was created in 1668.
This Astronomer exists in two different versions. It was made by the same artist, however, the figural subject in the other artwork is Geographer in place of an astronomer.
(Also Read: Harlem Renaissance Movement)
14. The Massacre at Chios
The Massacre at Chios covers a heart-wrenching event where figures are shown frozen and in a completely horrible manner.
The Louvre artwork never got its due recognition, but when the Louvre came into the picture in 1824, it received a fair amount of appreciation.
When you look at it, you won’t get a lump in your throat; perhaps you’ll like its details, as the Louvre painter put his heart and soul into the work.
Covering Chio’s wartime experience was challenging, but the artist nailed it, and if he hadn’t created those subjects, the world would have never received such realistic artwork on Chio’s rough times.
The Massacre at Chios is located in the same room where Ingres’ artworks are mounted.
Also Read: 21 Famous Landscape Paintings
The size of The Massacre at Chios (one of the best and largest Louvre paintings) is 419 cm x 354 cm.
It was created in 1824.
The Massacre at Chios, was one of the few finest artworks that was displayed at the Salon in the same year of its creation.
15. Man with a Glove
The Man with a Glove shows what a man from an affluent class looks like.
The subject is apparently a character named Eliane from a novel called A Happy Death.
The painter showed him looking at an indefinite point, with his left hand resting on the sofa chair handle, and the other on his lap.
The emotions that appeared on his face are unidentified. But he belonged to a rich family, and had a charmed look.
The Man with a Glove traveled from one royal family to another, and finally, the Louvre Museum bought it at an auction in 1792, and it has been protected ever since.
The size of The Man with a Glove (one of the best Louvre paintings) is 100 cm x 89 cm.
It was created in 1520.
The Man with a Glove was one of the oldest paintings of the Louvre Museum. Nearly half of its owners, until it was housed by the Paris museum, was Monarch.
(Also Read: 10 Controversial Artworks)
16. Ship of Fools
Ships of Fools is a triptych of art whose ⅔ parts are owned by the Louvre Art Gallery, and the bottom is in the Yale University of Art Gallery.
The piece of Louvre art is sensitive and a bit scary, as ten people are shown drifting in a boat, each suffering through different traumas.
The theme is disturbing, as people are shown lost and in utter trauma because it looks like they can’t escape.
Ships of Fools is one of the most-talked about Louvre works of art and was purchased twice by the museum itself.
The size of The Ship of Fools (one of the top Louvre paintings) is 58 cm x 33 cm.
It was created between 1490 and 1500.
The Ship of Fools, a fragment of triptych, is owned by the Louvre museum. However, its other parts “Allegory of Gluttony” and “Death of the Miser” have been housed by other institutes.
Oil on wood
17. The Fortune Teller
The Fortune Teller was created twice. Because the first was forcefully sold at a lower price, and to cover the loss, the second one was created, which is in the Louvre Museum currently.
The Louvre painting’s theme is fraud, cheating, and manipulation, as a man is shown being attracted by a Gypsy woman who is stealing his gold ring.
The most famous Louvre painting of the 16th century speaks a lot about Caravaggio’s interests, ideas, and artistic approach.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
The size of The Fortune Teller (the best Louvre painting) is 93 cm x 131 cm.
It was created in 1595.
The Fortune Teller was created in 1595 and was sold to a price way higher than its first version.
18. St. Michael Vanquishing Satan
St. Michael Vanquishing Satan is undoubtedly the most famous painting by Raphael.
The artwork is widely known for its message, as it shows the triumph of God over evil.
Raphael produced several religious paintings, but this one garnered massive audiences, making it the most-viewed artwork by the artist.
Both are large-sized paintings, and they’ve been owned by the Paris Museum for four centuries.
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Raphael)
The size of St. Michael Vanquishing Satan (one of the best and most famous works in the Louvre) is 268 cm x 160 cm.
It was created in 1518.
St. Michael Vanquishing Satan, both versions created in two different decades, are hung on the Louvre museum walls.
Oil on wood (transferred to canvas)
(Also Read: Claude Monet’s Paintings)
19. The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons
This gut-wrenching piece of art is in the Louvre’s permanent collection.
It seemed like a hard-hitting art, but it inclined toward sacrifice and devotion to protect and preserve the nation’s pride.
If you look closely at each character, you’ll probably guess that the main subject has killed his own family members.
Sobbing women in the back, and a carefree and cold man looking at the viewer, tell a lot about the Louvre’s art.
Various human expressions, such as grief, trauma, and helplessness, are shown on canvas with a high intensity of neoclassicism.
The size of The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons (one of the best paintings in Louvre) is 323 cm x 422 cm.
It was created in 1789.
The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons is featured in the 1980 BBC series 100 Great Paintings.
20. Portrait of Louis XIV
The Portrait of Louis XIV had been famous before the Louvre acquired it because it was commissioned by the King himself.
A human-sized Louvre painting illustrates everything from the king’s dramatic attire to a majestic crown seated on the chair.
The way Louis XIV was shown standing with grace shows the administrative power he was carrying on.
Created in 1701, The Portrait of Louis XIV covered every minuscule detail; perhaps, that’s the reason why so many created its replica.
If you want to own its replica, look no further, than our reproduction artworks.
The size of Portrait of Louis XIV (one of the best Louvre paintings) is 277 cm x 194 cm.
It was created in 1701.
The Portrait of Louis XIV was created to fulfill the King’s grandson’s wish. But it ended up as the official Portrait of Louis XIV and has been stored in the Louvre museums for many years.
21. The Barque of Dante
Romanticism painter, Eugene fabulously covered Canto 8 of Dante’s Inferno.
Known for its details, the Louvre painting showed the emotions that occurred in this real event.
There are 10 people in the painting—7 of them are overboard, and in a much more disturbing and difficult state. In the background, there’s leaden, smoky mist, and the burning City of the Dead. Chaos and suffering are everywhere, as other boats sink into the sea.
The art is quite realistic and made appearances in various exhibitions before landing at the Louvre Museum.
The size of The Barque of Dante (one of the best Louvre portraits) is 189 cm x 246 cm.
It was created in 1822.
The Barque of Dante was not only accepted in the Salon on his debut, but was also sold to the French state for a handsome sum. It was bought for 2000 Francs in 1822, which was quite a big deal.
22. Madonna of Chancellor Rolin
Jan Van Eyck’s Madonna of Chancellor Rolin is as meaningful as his Arnolifini Portrait
Jan depicted a hovering angel crowning the Virgin Mary, who is presenting the infant Jesus to Rolin.
If you look at it attentively, you’ll see two men in chaperons sneak through the crenellations, aiming to witness the fortified bridge in the middle of the city.
Near them are two magpies and two peacocks standing on their left, symbolizing good (Jesus) and evil.
The Louvre artwork is dramatic, as on one side there is an angel approaching the Virgin Mary and on the other side there are figures indulged in conventional activities.
Jan Van Eyck
The size of Madonna Of Chancellor Rolin (one of the best Louvre paintings) is 66 cm x 62 cm.
It was created in 1435.
The man who commissioned Madonna of Chancellor Rolin is illustrated on the left of the painting. He was 60 years old when the painting was finished and initially it was hung at the Notre-Dame-du-Chastel in Autun, France.
23. Death of a Virgin
Caravaggio was a mixbag, often combining religious elements with raw emotions.
This artwork by Caravaggio is probably the last on Jesus’ mother’s death, which is on the wall of the Louvre Museum.
Death of a Virgin would feel like a personal loss, as the painter spectacularly created a sombre environment with his finesse.
The Louvre artwork received hatred and negative criticism, but in reality, it showed the demise of Virigin Mary, whose soul left for heaven.
Wouldn’t it be the most heart-breaking painting ever hung in the Louvre? But its composition would certainly shock the viewer, maybe to some extent.
The size of the Death of a Virgin (one of the famous Louvre museum paintings) is 369 cm × 245 cm
It was created between 1604 and 1606
The Louvre artwork is known for its gut-wrenching composition and raw emotions
24. The Turkish Bath
Ingres’s work The Turkish Bath is a perfect blend of near eastern and earlier western styles with mythological subjects.
Featuring a group of nude women in the bath of a harem in a more erotic style.
The Turkish Bath raised several eyebrows, and due to this, it remained private for several years of its existence.
The artwork wasn’t round in the first place the painter Ingres cut it into its present form in 1863.
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
The size of The Turkish Bath (one of the famous Louvre museum paintings) is 108 cm X 108 cm
The artwork of the Louvre was created in 1863
The artwork was famous for its depiction of immense nudity, which is a result of a perfect blend of near eastern and earlier western styles with mythological subjects
Oil Paint medium
25. The Arrival of Marie de Medici at Marseille
The fine piece at the Louvre was created by a Baroque painter, Sir Peter Paul Rubens.
Visitors to the Louvre have never left without praising it. The Medici family commissioned these 24 paintings, which covered various scenes of the commemoration of Marie de Medici and her husband, Henry IV of France.
This painting in the Louvre depicted the most historical events in her life, and was going to be used as a decorative piece in the Palais du Luxembourg.
The artwork acted as an heirloom and was later sent to the Louvre in the 17th century.
Sir Peter Paul Rubens
The Arrival of Marie de Medici at Marseille is a series of paintings and each painting is made with a different dimension. The above image is The Disembarkation at Marseilles, and its size is 394 x 295 cm
It was created between 1622 and 1625
The art is Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ most famous work, which was commissioned by Marie herself to display the most historic event of her life onto canvas.
If you’ve planned to visit the Paris Museum, make sure you see these most famous pieces in the Louvre.
If you ask me “what famous art is in the Louvre,” I’ll probably reply that there are thousands, though you need 2-3 days to have a complete tour of the world’s largest art museum.
These are the famous paintings that hold records in several categories and are the best work of their respective artists.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The Louvre Museum, in Paris, is the largest art museum in the world, with a collection of over 480,000 artworks.
The Mona Lisa painting is undeniably the most famous painting at the Louvre Museum. The No. 1 reason why most art lovers visit the Louvre Museum is to see the stunning art piece, the Mona Lisa.
The Raft of the Medusa is the most famous Louvre painting from Romanticism.
The Coronation of Napoleon is one of the largest Louvre paintings that is based on a real-life event and has been mounted on the wall of Room 75 on the second floor, Denon Wing, in the Paris Museum.