The modern day Louvre is known as a museum that holds one of the world’s greatest art collections. But before it was a museum, it was a palace where France’s Royalty and Emperors lived and held court. And before that it was a walled fortress whose building was begun by Phillippe-Auguste in 1190 on what was then the western edge of the city to protect it from a potential Anglo-Norman invasion. It is the newer old palace that is seen in the background of the photo.
In March of 1989 the Pyramide du Louvre that was designed by architect I.M. Pei was completed and opened amongst much cultural controversy. The pyramid gave the museum a much needed central entry point that could handle the influx of daily visitors to the museum. Those of you who have visited the museum both before and after the opening of the pyramid, know that this idea has worked. But many Parisians thought that the pyramid was too cold and futuristic for the classical Louvre.
I like the contrast of the old and the new in the architecture of the Louvre. That it is not artificial, nor immediate, but that it took eight-hundred years for the museum to take on this appearance. That nothing of the old was demolished to make way for the new. I also like that the people in the photograph put the architecture into scale, and shows how it all relates to the human being.