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This article was last updated on the 3rd of October 2022 by Lena

Find out what the most famous paintings in the Louvre are to plan your next visit

If you’re an art lover, then a visit to the Louvre is a must. Home to some of the most famous paintings in the world, the museum is a veritable treasure trove of artistic masterpieces, left for you to discover. 

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From the Mona Lisa to the Wedding of Cana, there’s no shortage of iconic works that you can admire. And with over 35,000 paintings in total, you could easily spend days exploring all that the Louvre has to offer.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have days to spare when traveling to Paris, so read on to know which famous artwork in the Louvre you should not miss

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Louvre Tip: Visit as early as possible if you want to see the most famous Louvre Paintings

In case you are planning a trip to Paris, the following articles will be interesting for you:

A brief snippet of the long history of the Louvre in Paris

The Louvre is one of the world’s most famous museums, and also one of the landmarks Paris is famous for. Located in the heart of Paris, it houses an incredible collection of art, from ancient Egyptian statues to paintings by the masters.

But the Louvre is more than just a museum; it’s also a historic building with a fascinating history. The construction of the Louvre began in the 12th century as a fortress to protect the western part of medieval Paris. Later, in the 16th century, Francis I renovated the former knightly castle, inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture. It was then used as a royal residence until the French Revolution in the 18th century.

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The pyramid of the Louvre was a very controversial project, now everyone loves it

Today, it is one of the largest museums in the world, and its iconic glass pyramid is a symbol of Paris itself. Whether you’re an art lover or simply seeking a unique experience, a visit to the Louvre is sure to be unforgettable.

So if you’re planning a trip to Paris, be sure to add a visit to this world-famous museum to your itinerary to marvel at the most famous Louvre artwork. 

The 20 most famous paintings in the Louvre

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The Louvre is a maze with more than 35000 exhibits, and it’s easy to get lost while trying to find the most famous artwork in the Louvre. Especially if you are not an art expert, it is hard to recognize the paintings at the Louvre that are the true masterpieces. 

But don’t you worry, below you find a list of the 20 most famous artwork in the Louvre, so that you know what to look at. The following Louvre paintings are NOT sorted by relevance, though!

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Oath of the Horatii

Jacques-Louis David, 1784

Oath of the Horatii, one of the famous Louvre artwork
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jacques Louis David’s “Oath of the Horatii” tells the story of an ancient Roman legend of brotherhood, duty, and patriotism. The painting depicts a scene from the legend where you can see three Roman brothers, the Horatii, swear an oath to defend Rome against the invading Curiatii.

The three brothers are shown standing before their father, who is holding their swords. Behind them are their wives and children. The Horatii brothers represent the courageous spirit of the Roman people, while their wives and children represent the importance of family. But also a conflict because many of the wives and sisters are married to Curatii or even their siblings. Both families are related by marriage.

The painting shows the masterful use of light and shadow to create a sense of drama, and its use of colour to convey emotion. Whether one sees it as a tribute to patriotism or an indictment of war, the Oath of the Horatii is unquestionably a powerful work of art and it is considered one of Jaques-Louis David’s masterpieces.


The Pastoral Concert

Attributed to Titian, 1509

Famous Artwork in the Louvre: Pastoral Concert of Titian
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pastoral Concert is a famous Louvre painting attributed to Titian. It belongs to the Italian Renaissance period and is one of the most famous artwork in the Louvre. 

The painting portrays two shepherds and a nymph playing music together in an idyllic setting, which is typical for the Venetian Renaissance style. The scene is set against a background of rolling hills and green meadows, with a nearby town seen in the back.

One of the famous artwork in the Louvre displaying the Venetian Renaissance style.

The work is believed to be an allegory of the harmony of nature and of the four seasons, with each figure representing a different season. It is considered one of Titian’s most important paintings. The use of light and color in the work is particularly striking, and the overall effect is one of peacefulness and serenity. 


The Wedding at Cana

Paolo Veronese, 1563

Wedding of Cana, Paintings at Louvre
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Wedding at Cana is a painting by the Italian artist Paolo Veronese. The massive and complex work depicts the biblical story of the wedding at Cana, where Jesus miraculously turned water into wine.

The painting is large, measuring over 9 meters in width and over 6 meters in height. It is one of the most popular paintings in the world and has been copied and imitated countless times. Paoplo Veronese finished this artwork in 1563.

The Wedding of Cana is the largest and one of the most famous Louvre paintings

The painting is notable for its use of color and light, as well as its realistic portrayal of everyday life. The masterpiece is filled with hundreds of figures and a dazzling array of colors.  Veronese captures the festive atmosphere of the event, with musicians playing and guests enjoying the abundant food and drink.

But he also includes several religious symbols, such as the crucifixion scenes on the walls and Christ’s haloed head. As a result, “The Wedding at Cana” is not only a beautiful painting, but also a complex allegory about the role of Christ in the Christian faith.


The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne

Leonardo da Vinci, 1501 to 1519

One of the most famous paintings at Louvre of Leonardo Da Vinci: The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
The masterpieces from da Vinci are the most famous Louvre paintings. Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne is a painting from the workshop of the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. The subject is the Virgin Mary, her mother Saint Anne, and the infant Jesus playing with a lamb. 

The painting was likely commissioned by Louis XII of France, who was an avid collector of Leonardo’s work. It is believed to have been painted between 1501 and 1519. The current condition of the painting is poor due to its age and the fact that it has been restored multiple times.

The fact that the background and the coat of Mary are not very detailed hints that Leonardo did not finish this work.

Although it is not one of Leonardo’s best-known works, it is still considered to be a masterpiece of Renaissance art that you, of course, should not walk by when hunting down the most famous paintings at the Louvre.


The Battle Between Love And Chastity

Pietro di Cristoforo Vannuci, also known as Il Perugino, 1503

Louvre famous paintingsThe Battle Between Love and Chastity
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The famous painting, by Pietro Perugino, represents a fight between the symbolic figures of two women who represent Love and Chastity. Love with a lifted bow and Chastity with a lance, ready to hit.

This painting reflects the popular belief that love and chastity are two opposing forces. In the backdrop, you can observe other personalities of the mythology: Minerva, Diana, Venus, Nymph and many other.


The Virgin Of The Rocks

Leonardo da Vinci, 1483 to 1486

Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin of the Rocks is one of the paintings in the Louvre
This is one of the most famous art in the Louvre Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Virgin of the Rocks is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci that has been on display as one of the most famous paintings in the Louvre for centuries.

The painting, that is thought to be a portrait of the Virgin Mary, child Jesus and John the Baptist, and as well Angel Uriel. This artwork is notable for its use of perspective and light.

The Virgin of the Rocks has been admired by many art historians and critics, who have praised its technical mastery and beauty. The unusual element of this artwork is the background. Commonly, da Vinci chose warm and welcoming backgrounds for his portraits, the grotto in this painting has the opposite effect, though. It appears cold, hostile even.

Interestingly, two versions are existing of this well-known painting. They are identical in setting but differ in details. The version of this painting that is in the Louvre is considered to be the prime version and unison attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. 

However, the second version of the painting is on display in the National Gallery in London and created some controversy, as some experts have questioned whether it was actually painted by Leonardo. 


The Intervention of the Sabine Women

Jacques-Louis David, 1799

famous louvre paintings: The Intervention of the Sabine Women
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Intervention of the Sabine Women is a painting by Jacques Louis David. The painting depicts the Roman legend of the intervention of the Sabine women. In the legend, the women intervene to stop a war between Rome and the Sabines.

The painting is currently on display at the Louvre. It is known as a sequel to the “Rape of the Sabine women painted by Nicolas Poussin in 1637, which can you can also see at the Louvre.


The Moneylender and His Wife

Quentin Matsys, 1514

famous artwork in the louvre: The moneylander and his wife
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

The Moneylender and His Wife is a painting by Quentin Matsys that hangs as one of the famous artwork in the Louvre.

The painting shows a moneylender and his wife sitting at a table, with the moneylender counting coins while the wife looks on. The couple appears to be well-to-do, and their clothing and jewellery indicate their wealth.

However, there is an element of tension in the painting, as the moneylender’s expression is one of suspicion and mistrust. The painting was completed in 1514, during a time when moneylenders were often viewed with suspicion and resentment.

Quentin Matsys was a Flemish painter who was active during the Renaissance. He is best known for his portraits and genre scenes, which often depict rural life. The Moneylender and His Wife is an excellent example of his work, and it provides a glimpse into the lives of 16th-century nobility.


The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds

Georges de La Tour, 1636

The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds is a painting by Georges de La Tour . The painting depicts a scene from everyday life: a group of people gathered around a table, engaged in a game of cards. However, there is more to this painting than meets the eye.

The card sharp on the left of the composition is holding an ace of diamonds – a card that represents luck and fortune. The other players seem to be unaware of his deception, and their faces are filled with concentration and determination. But are they? One could think that the women conspiring against the young lad on the right.

The painting’s muted colors. The atmospheric lighting creates an aura of tension and excitement, hinting at the drama that is unfolding at the table. With its shrewd observation of human nature, The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds is a classic example of Georges de La Tour’s skill as a painter.


St. Michael Vanquishing Satan

Raphael, 1518

famous paintings at the louvre: St. Michael Vanquishing Satan
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most famous paintings in the Louvre Museum is “St. Michael Vanquishing Satan” by the famous Italian Renaissance painter Raphael. The painting depicts St. Michael, the Archangel, in a dramatic battle with Satan, standing on his back with a lifted lance.

It is said to represent the triumph of good over evil. The painting is full of rich symbolism, and it has been interpreted in numerous ways. Some believe that it represents the struggle between faith and doubt. Others interpret it as a metaphor for the fight between reason and passion.

Whatever its meaning, “St. Michael Vanquishing Satan” is a beautiful and thought-provoking work of art.


Dante And Virgil In Hell

Eugène Delacroix, 1822

The Barque of Dante from Eugène Delacroix is one of the famois paintings at the Louvre
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting the Louvre, one can’t help but be impressed by the artwork on display, the painting “The Barque of Dante”. The masterpiece by Eugène Delacroix is especially intense. It is also known as “Dante and Virgil in Hell”. 

It depicts the Italian poet Dante being transported through Hell by the Roman poet Virgil. The painting is based on Inferno, the first canto of Dante’s Divine Comedy. In the poem, Dante is led through Hell by Virgil in order to learn about the nature of sin. They are crossing the river Styx to reach the hell city Dite.

There are a few famous paintings at the Louvre that are inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. But this interpretation by Delacroix is certainly the most fierce and impressive one. 

The painting is an excellent example of Delacroix’s use of light and color. A technique to convey emotion, and it provides a glimpse into one of the most famous works of literature. 

“Dante and Virgil in Hell”, is particularly striking. The painting shows the two men in the midst of a raging inferno, surrounded by demons and suffering souls. Despite the horror of their surroundings, Dante and Virgil appear calm and unafraid. 

Delacroix created this piece of art when he was an unknown painter and chose the motive because he hoped he could land some financial success from it. He was heavily in dept at the time and planned to travel to Italy.


Triumph of the Virtues

Andrea Mantegna, 1502

Triumph of the Virtues, famous Artwork in the Louvre
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The painting Triumph of the Virtues, also known as Minerva Expelling the Vices from the Garden of Virtue, is a scene of chaos and disorder. Painted by Andrea Mantegna in 1502, it depicts the goddess Minerva ejecting a group of vices from a garden.


Death Of The Virgin

Caravaggio, 1606

Death of the Virgin by Caravaggio, one of the most impressive Baroque Paintings at the Louvre
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Death of the Virgin is a painting by the Italian artist Caravaggio, who finished his masterpiece in 1606. It is one of the paintings in the Louvre that belong to the permanent collection of the museum and that you shouldn’t miss.

The painting shows the Virgin Mary after she has died, surrounded by grieving apostles.

Caravaggio was known for his use of light and shadow, and this painting is no exception. The dark background and dim lighting lend an air of melancholy to the scene. Yet, despite the somber mood, there is a sense of peace and calm in the painting. This may be due to the Virgin’s serene expression, or perhaps it is the result of Caravaggio’s masterful use of colour and composition.


The Coronation of Napoleon

Jacques-Louis David, 1807

famous paintings in louvre museum: THe Coronation of Napoleon
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking for a famous painting in the Louvre, you can’t get around The Coronation of Napoleon, painted by Jacques Louis David. It shows Napoleon being crowned by Pope Pius VII in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1804. The painting was commissioned by Napoleon himself, and it was meant to celebrate his military successes and legitimize his rule.

The work is enormous, measuring eleven feet tall and sixteen feet wide. It took David three years to complete, and it was very well received when it was finally unveiled. Today, the painting hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris, where it continues to be one of the most popular works on display.

I recommend renting an audio guide when visiting the Louvre. The description of this painting in the guide is outstanding and shows you details, you would not find on your own.


Liberty Leading the People

Eugène Delacroix, 1830

Liberty leading the People - One of the famous louvre paintings that you have to see
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Liberty Leading the People is a painting by Eugène Delacroix commemorating the July Revolution of 1830, which toppled King Charles X of France. It is one of the most famous Louvre paintings and an artwork with immense importance to France. 

The figure of Liberty is usually identified as Marianne, who symbolizes the Republic. The painting depicts Liberty as a bare-breasted woman with a Phrygian cap on her head. She also holds a tricolor flag in her hand. She is leading a group of revolutionaries into battle against the forces of the monarchy. The cap and the flag, as well as the cockades, are symbols of the French Revolution. 

With its strong symbolism and historical importance, it is a famous painting in the Louvre that you absolutely can’t miss. But don’t worry, you won’t – there is always a group of visitors gathering around it, which makes it easy to spot.

The painting was originally commissioned by King Louis-Philippe I to hang in the Palais du Luxembourg. However, it was later moved to the Louvre after the Revolution of 1848. Today, it is one of the most iconic images of the French Revolution and continues to be a powerful symbol of liberty and democracy.


The Lacemaker

Johannes Vermeer, 1699 -1670

The lacemaker
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most well-known paintings in the Louvre is Vermeer’s Lacemaker. The painting shows a young woman seated at a lacemaking pillow, focused on her work. The woman’s face is partially hidden by her bonnet, but her expression is one of concentration.

The light in the painting is soft and diffused, giving the scene an overall feeling of calm. The Lacemaker is a beautiful example of Vermeer’s ability to capture everyday moments in a way that is both realistic and poetic. It is no wonder that this painting has been one of the most beloved works in the Louvre .


Gabrielle d’Estrées and one of her sisters

Unknown Artist, between 1594 and 1599

Gabrielle d’Estrées and one of her sisters, a painting at Louvre from an unknown artist
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Gabrielle d’Estrées and one of her sisters is a painting by an unknown artist that is another one of the famous paintings in the Louvre.

The work depicts Gabrielle d’Estrées, a mistress of King Henry IV of France, with one of her sisters, probably Duchess of Vilars. The painting is fairly small, measuring just over two feet tall and just under two feet wide. Despite its relatively small size, the painting is incredibly detailed, with each strand of Gabrielle’s hair individually painted.

The work is believed to have been completed sometime between 1594 and 1599, during the height of Gabrielle’s brief but influential time at the French court. 

The odd element of this painting is that the woman on the left touches the others woman left. However, it is often interpreted as a sign of pregnancy. And indeed, Gabrielle gave birth around the time to a son, who Henry IV recognized as one of his own.


The Turkish Bath

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1859

louvre museum paintings: turkish bath
Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Turkish Bath is one of the most famous paintings by Ingres, which was completed in 1859. It shows a group of women in a bathhouse or a pool at a harem.

The women are shown nude, and they are in various stages of undressing and bathing. The painting is set in a large, ornate room, with marble columns and arched doorways. The light is soft and diffuse, and it creates a sense of warmth and relaxation.

The Turkish Bath is a sensuous and erotic painting, but it is also a work of great technical mastery. Ingres was a master of line and form, and his use of light and shadow creates a sense of depth and space in the painting.


The Raft of the Medusa

Théodore Géricault, 1819

The Raft of the Medusa, Famous Painting in the Louvre
The Raft of the Medusa – Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Raft of the Medusa is a painting by French Romantic painter Théodore Géricault, completed in 1819. The painting depicts the aftermath of the wreck of the French ship Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of Senegal in 1816.

The survivors were left stranded on a makeshift raft for 13 days. During this time, they resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.

The painting caused a sensation when it was first shown to the public, due to its graphic depiction of human suffering and death. The Raft of the Medusa is now considered one of the greatest paintings of the 19th century. It’s depiction of human resilience in the face of adversity continues to resonate with audiences who are admiring the beautiful famous paintings at Louvre today.


The Mona Lisa

The most famous painting in the Louvre

Leonardo da Vinci, 1503 to 1506

The Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the Louvre
The Mona Lisa, also called “La Gioconda” Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Mona Lisa is without a doubt the most famous painting in the world. Painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the early 16th century, it hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris for more than 200 years. It draws millions of visitors each year.

Although the subject of the painting is shrouded in mystery, there is no doubt that the Mona Lisa is a masterpiece of Renaissance art. The person of the painting is Lisa Gherardini. She is gazing directly at you with a mysterious smile that has captivated audiences for centuries.

The work is notable for its use of light and shadow to create a sense of depth and its subtle expression. Da Vinci’s skillful handling of these elements has made the Mona Lisa one of the most iconic and beloved paintings in history.


If you are visiting the Parisian Museum and looking for the most famous artwork at the Louvre, you won’t get around passing by hundreds of statues and sculptures.

You could spend a day just marveling at hundreds of Roman warriors and gods. But there are 2 sculptures you should absolutely have on your radar when looking for the most breathtaking artwork in the Louvre.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace

2nd century BC

Sculptures in the Louvre: the most famous one is the The Winged Victory of Samothrace
The Winged Victory of Samothrace – One of the most spectacular famous artwork in the Louvre

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also known as the Nike of Samothrace, is a Greek marble sculpture of the goddess Nike (Victory). It is one of the most popular sculptures in the Louvre. The piece dates back to the 2nd century BC and was discovered in 1863 on the Greek island of Samothrace.

The sculpture is of a winged woman, who some belief represents Nike, the goddess of victory. The sculpture is remarkably well-preserved. Considering its age, and it is thought to be one of the finest examples of Hellenistic art. The Winged Victory of Samothrace is an enduring symbol of beauty and power, and it continues to captivate visitors to the Louvre today.

The Louvre acquired the sculpture in 1883, and it has been on display in the museum ever since. The Nike of Samothrace is one of the most popular sculptures in the Louvre and continues to inspire artists and art lovers from all over the world.


The Venus de Milo

2nd century BC

Venus de Milo at the Louvre in Paris, one of the Louvre famous artwork
Venus de Milo at the Louvre in Paris, one of the Louvre famous artwork

A statue that you’ve probably seen 100 times before, but that you can marvel at in its original version at the Louvre, is the Venus de Milo. It is one of the most famous statues in the world.

It was sculpted by Alexandros of Antioch in Ancient Greece and is believed to depict the goddess Aphrodite. The statue was discovered on the Greek island of Milos in 1820 and has been on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris ever since. 

The statue is made of marble and is missing its arms. They were probably broke off at some point after it was carved. However, despite its missing limbs, the Venus de Milo remains one of the most iconic and visually appealing sculptures ever created.


With 35000 masterpieces on display, it is quite a job to say once and for all which are the most famous paintings in the Louvre. There are many more, but if you see the Louvre artwork above and take a bit of time, you surely get a good impression. 

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FAQ – The most famous paintings in the Louvre

  •  What is the most famous painting in the Louvre?

The most famous painting in the Louvre is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. It is even considered the most famous painting in the world.

  • Who owns the Mona Lisa?

The Mona Lisa was acquired by King Francis 1 and is now the property of the French Republic. 

  • What are the 3 most famous works in the Louvre?

The 3 most famous Paintings in the Louvre are the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault and Liberty leading the People by Eugène Delacroix

  • Are there any Caravaggio paintings in the Louvre?

The Louvre holds three Caravaggion paintings: La Bouona Ventura, The Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt and Morta della Vergine (Death of the Virgin)

  • How many works are art are displayed int he Louvre?

The Louvre has presently 35000 artworks on display.

  • What is the most famous artefact in the Louvre?

The Venus de Milo is the most famous artefact and one of the most recognized pieces of art in the world.

  • What is the oldest artefact in the Louvre?

The oldest piece of art in the Louvre is Ain Ghazal, a 9000 years old statue from the Neolithic. 

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