The Musée du Louvre has officially launched a digital database of more than 482,000 items, allowing users to explore the French museum’s wonderful collection.
“Today, the Louvre is dusting off its treasures, even the least-known,” says Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre. “For the first time, anyone can access the entire collection of works from a computer or smartphone for free, whether they are on display in the museum, on loan, even long-term, or in storage. The Louvre’s stunning cultural heritage is all now just a click away! I am sure that this digital content is going to further inspire people to come to the Louvre to discover the collections in person.”
The new database, which includes about 75% of the museum’s collections, allows several ways for users to access these works. These include entries by curatorial department, and themed albums. An interactive map helps visitors prepare or extend their visit and allows them to explore the museum room by room. Updated regularly by museum experts, the database will continue to grow and reflect advances in research.
Each entry consists of scientific data about the given work of art: title, artist, inventory number, dimensions, materials and techniques, date and place of production, object history, current location and bibliography. You can search for particular items, but at this stage you need to enter your search terms in French, even when using the English version of the site.
There are tens of thousands of items related to the Middle Ages, including paintings, manuscripts, textiles, sculptures and jewellery. After spending a few hours going through the database, here are 10 medieval items we really liked!
Portrait of the Artist Holding a Thistle
Created by Albrecht Dürer in 1493, this is his first painted self-portrait, possibly that of an engagement portrait – the thistle that Dürer is holding is a symbol of marital fidelity. Click here to learn more.
Created between 585 and 615, it includes an inscription most likely dedicated to a shrine of the Virgin in the Egyptian village of Pelčisôk-Burš was likely done to adapt the chalice to the liturgical use of the local Coptic Christian community. Click here to learn more.
The Bible of the Poor
A woodcut book published in the Netherlands around 1465 – this page shows the scene of The Last Supper. Click here to learn more.
Hare cut bottom
Part of a cup made in Egypt or Syria in the 14th or 15th century. Click here to learn more.
Carolingian Liturgical scenes
This ivory was made during the reign of Charles II the Bald (843-877). Click here to learn more.
13th-century Stained Glass Window
Stained glass window, lower medallion: scenes from the story of Saint Nicaise with Saint Nicaise and Saint Eutropia heading towards the cathedral of Reims, arrival of the Vandals, martyrdom of Saint Nicaise. Click here to learn more.
Torcello Mosaic Fragment
The angel’s head comes from the famous mosaic of the Last Judgment in the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta on the island of Torcello near Venice. The work is attributed to a workshop of Byzantine mosaicists who worked in Venice and Torcello in the 11th and 12th centuries. Click here to learn more.
Made in Byzantium between the years 500 and 700. Click here to learn more.
Reliquary of Saint Henry
Created around 1170 in Hildesheim, Germany, it depicts Emperor Henry II (1002-1024), canonized in 1146, between his wife Cunégonde and the monk Welandus. Click here to learn more.
A twelfth-century man
This drawing was made in Egypt in the 12th century. Click here to learn more.