Virtually explore the Louvre with Smarthistory as your guide
videos + essays
Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, Napoleon Bonaparte Visiting the Pest House in Jaffa
Napoleon masterfully manipulated his image, and this painting meant for Parisian audiences is pure propaganda.
Delacroix, Women of Algiers in Their Apartment
Delacroix's orientalist fantasy exhibited to great acclaim in the Paris Salon.
Nike (Winged Victory) of Samothrace
On the island of Samothrace, the wind whipped the clothing of this stone goddess of victory.
Théodore Géricault, Raft of the Medusa
Géricault’s massive canvas takes its format from history painting, but its subject is ripped from the headlines.
A Byzantine vision of Paradise — The Harbaville Triptych
This ivory triptych was an object of prayer and a vision of paradise for Byzantine viewers following iconoclasm
Peter Paul Rubens, The Apotheosis of Henry IV and the Proclamation of the Regency of Marie de’ Médici
The painting is an overwhelming and learned piece of artistic propaganda.
Marie-Guillemine Benoist, Portrait of Madeleine
This portrait of an unnamed woman speaks volumes about slavery, politics, and gender in revolutionary France.
Leonardo, The Mona Lisa
Such a tease! This ambiguous portrait plays psychological and optical games with the viewer.
Seated Gudea holding temple plan
Shown with an architectural plan in his lap, this prince constructed temples to the gods and likenesses of himself.
Humanizing Mary: the Virgin of Jeanne d’Evreux
Mary’s swaying hip, elongated neck, and tender touch of the Christ Child all imbue this golden sculpture with grace. A pomegranate signals death.
Vigée Le Brun, Self-Portrait with her Daughter
Artificial? Moi? This genuine portrait of familial affection challenged assumptions about the aristocracy.
The Emperor Triumphant (Barberini Ivory)
This energetic image of military victory captures a moment of transition between classical and Byzantine art.