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The Louvre Museum II
Article written by Rick Archer, May 2007



003. The Apotheosis of Henry IV and the Proclamation of the Regency of Marie de Medicis
May 14, 1610 by Peter Paul Rubens  (title contributed by
Lourdes Fernandez)

The Death of Henry IV and the Proclamation of the Regency, (from the Marie de' Medici Cycle), 1625, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)  (Title contributed by Olga Milner)

004.  Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda, is a 16th century oil painting on poplar wood by Leonardo da Vinci.  It is one of the most famous paintings in the world. Few works of art have been subject to as much scrutiny, study, mythologizing and parody. It is owned by the French government and hangs in the Musée du Louvre in Paris. The painting, a half-length portrait, depicts a woman whose gaze meets the viewer's with an expression often described as enigmatic.

Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1502 and, according to Vasari, completed it in four years. Leonardo took the painting from Italy to France in 1516 when King François I invited the painter to work at the Clos Lucé near the king's castle in Amboise. The King bought the painting for 4,000 écus and kept it at Fontainebleau, where it remained until moved by Louis XIV.

Louis XIV moved the painting to the Palace of Versailles. After the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre. Napoleon I had it moved to his bedroom in the Tuileries Palace; later it was returned to the Louvre. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, it was moved from the Louvre to a hiding place elsewhere in France.

The painting was not well-known until the mid-19th century, when artists of the emerging Symbolist movement began to appreciate it, and associated it with their ideas about feminine mystique. Critic Walter Pater, in his 1867 essay on Leonardo, expressed this view by describing the figure in the painting as a kind of mythic embodiment of eternal femininity, who is "older than the rocks among which she sits" and who "has been dead many times and learned the secrets of the grave".

The painting's increasing fame was further emphasized when it was stolen on August 21, 1911. The next day, Louis Béroud, a painter, walked into the Louvre and went to the Salon Carré where the Mona Lisa had been on display for five years. However, where the Mona Lisa should have stood, he found four iron pegs.

Béroud contacted the section head of the guards, who thought the painting was being photographed. A few hours later, Béroud checked back with the section head of the museum, and it was confirmed that the Mona Lisa was not with the photographers. The Louvre was closed for an entire week to aid in the investigation of the theft.

On September 6, avant-garde French poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who had once called for the Louvre to be "burned down", was arrested and put in jail on suspicion of the theft. His friend Pablo Picasso was brought in for questioning, but both were later released.

At the time, the painting was believed to be lost forever. It turned out that Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia stole it by entering the building during regular hours, hiding in a broom closet and walking out with it hidden under his coat after the museum had closed.

Con-man Eduardo de Valfierno master-minded the theft, and had commissioned the French art forger Yves Chaudron to make copies of the painting so he could sell them as the missing original. Because he did not need the original for his con, he never contacted Peruggia again after the crime. After keeping the painting in his apartment for two years, Peruggia grew impatient and was caught when he attempted to sell it to a Florence art dealer; it was exhibited all over Italy and returned to the Louvre in 1913.

During World War II, the painting was again removed from the Louvre and taken to safety, first in Chateau Amboise, then in the Loc-Dieu Abbey and finally in the Ingres Museum in Montauban.

In 1956, the lower part of the painting was severely damaged when someone doused it with acid. On December 30 of that same year, Ugo Ungaza Villegas, a young Bolivian, damaged the painting by throwing a rock at it. The result was a speck of pigment near Mona Lisa's left elbow. The painting is now covered with bulletproof security glass.

In 1962, the painting was assessed for insurance purposes at $100 million. According to the Guinness Book of Records, this made the Mona Lisa the most valuable painting ever insured.

005. Cupid and Psyche

Antonio CANOVA (Possagno, 1757 – Venice, 1822)

c. 1797

Title of picture contributed by Anna Anderson, February 2011

006.  The Presentation of Her Portrait to Henri IV, (from the Marie de' Medici Cycle), 1625, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)



007. Does anyone know the name of the statue above?


008. Does anyone know the name of the statue above?

009. Does anyone know the name of the painting above?

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