Some say the top three museums in the world are the Louvre Museum, the British Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; while many say that they are the Louvre Museum, the Winter Palace, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Regardless of which, the Louvre is definitely in the lead.
I’ve only been to Paris once and stayed there for less than 24 hours, which means that I’ve only been in Louvre for two hours. However, I long to go back.
The majority of those who visit the Louvre are there for “the three women”. They are the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, and Mona Lisa. I call them the Wing, the Armless, and the Smile. I’m not being disrespectful or anything, it’s just that these three factors are what people have always remembered these masterpieces by. And in the Louvre, they are the easiest and hardest to see. They are easy to find because they are the ones with the most people in front of them; however, they are hard to see because you can never see them fully unless you are taller than everyone else there.
Most people who visit the Louvre would just take some pictures of these three women and leave, maybe have a peek at Le Sacre de Napoléon or Liberty Leading the People and that’s it. But the Louvre Museum ranks top three in world’s greatest museums for a good and simple reason: because it has way more treasures and masterpieces than just the three women. Most museums are famous for one artwork, and you go there because you want to look at that one single piece. For example, when I was in Italy, I went to Naples and there was this small museum called Galleria di Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano. The museum had this huge banner outside that says Caravaggio, but in fact, it only has one of Caravaggio’s works, The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula. And to be honest, that is not even my favorite painting of his! Nevertheless, it cost me 5 Euros.
But in the Louvre, every corner has an artwork that will totally surprise you. In one of the rooms on the first floor, there were two paintings side by side, one painted by Turner and one by Constable. I don’t know if it was intentional, but seeing these two side by side is just shocking yet so brilliantly put. For those who are unfamiliar with their works, John Constable and J. M. William Turner are two of the greatest landscape artists of all time. But they didn’t exactly see eye to eye. In fact, they have been arch enemies all their lives.
Turner is a genius. He painted St. John’s Church when he was 11. (I couldn’t even draw Spongebob when I was 11!) He was accepted into the Royal Academy of Arts when he was 14 and became an official member when he was only 26.
Constable, on the other hand, didn’t become an official member until he was 53. Only one year younger than Turner, Constable didn’t become famous until later in his life. Though on a purely artistic level, many say that Constable was a more skilled artist than Turner. Anyway, in 1832, they both brought a work to an exhibition, Turner brought his Helvoetsluys, the City of Utrecht, 64, Going to Sea, and Constable brought his The Opening of Waterloo Bridge. Their paintings were put there side by side. Before the opening, artists had three days to revise their works. Turner came and looked at the two paintings for a long time, he then added a red buoy to the middle of his painting. This little buoy made the whole painting come to life and made Constable’s painting looked really clumsy next to it. Later, Constable came and saw it, and said, “He came, and he made his move.” They’ve been competing all their lives trying to settle the question of whom is the better painter, and now their paintings hang side by side in the Louvre like brothers. It is noteworthy to point out that Monet was greatly influenced by them. Without Turner and Constable, there is no Monet, and without Monet, Impressionism won’t be like what it is today.
Of course, if there is time, you could always go to the second floor where there aren’t any tourists. It’s not only quieter and less crowded, but you may even meet people imitating paintings there. Most of them are art students, but there are quite a few amateur enthusiasts as well. I didn’t get to hang around for too long, but I did make up my mind that in my life, I have to come back. I’ll make enough money and I’ll stay in Paris for a month, and I’ll use three weeks to come to the Louvre Museum daily.