Visiting the Louvre and wondering which artworks you shouldn’t miss? This article will show you the most famous sculptures in the Louvre Museum you should see!
Home to some of the world’s most iconic works of art, the Louvre Museum is the biggest art museum in the world and one of the most visited attractions in Paris.
There’s plenty to see in the Louvre, and you can easily spend hours going through the museum’s expansive collection of paintings, artifacts, and sculptures, many of which can be traced back to prehistoric years.
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With over 35,000 artworks on display, it’s quite impossible to see everything if you have only a few hours to spare. In fact, even if you spent 30 seconds in front of each piece, it would take you almost more than a month to see it all.
In my previous article, I showed you the most famous paintings in the Louvre, but this time, if you’re most into sculptures and statues, this article will show you the most famous sculptures in the Louvre not to miss.
But before we look at famous statues in the Louvre museum, there are a few tips you should know to make your visit smooth.
Practical Tips for Visiting the Louvre Museum
- The Louvre museum is always crowded, so make sure you purchase this timed entry ticket in advance to beat the queues.
- To learn more about the artwork in the museum and know where to go, I recommend booking this Louvre museum-guided tour.
- If you plan to visit the Louvre and also take a Seine Cruise, the best way to save money is by purchasing this combined Louvre museum and Seine river cruise ticket.
- Learn more about this Parisian monument by reading these facts about the Louvre museum before your visit.
- How to get to the Louvre museum: You can either take Palais-Royal / Musée du Louvre on metro lines 1 and 7 or Pyramides on Metro line 14.
- The Louvre museum opening hours: From 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday and 9:00 AM – 9:45 PM on Friday. The museum stays closed on Tuesdays.
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Famous Sculptures in the Louvre Museum
Now that you know some practical tips to help you plan your visit, here are the famous statues in the Louvre museum that you’ll want to see and the rooms to find them.
1. Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch (Room 344, Sully Wing, Level 0)
Almost always ranked at the top of the famous sculptures at the Louvre museum, Venus de Milo is a semi-nude ancient Greek sculpture that is believed to depict Aphrodite, the notable Greek goddess of love.
Carved from Parian marble, Venus de Milo is graceful despite missing both arms, as well as bracelets, earrings, and a headband it is believed to have once been decorated with due to the holes in her body
Unfortunately, the sculpture’s missing arms were never found and while there were initial suggestions to restore them, the decision was made to keep her armless.
This specific flaw in the sculpture is however what makes Venus de Milo even more recognizable, mysterious, and fascinating, making it one of the most famous Greek statues in the Louvre museum.
2. Venus of Arles by François Girardon (Room 344, Sully wing, Level 0)
Carved out of Hymettian marble, Venus of Arles is yet another beautiful statue of Venus on display at the Louvre.
This statue stands at a height of 1.94 meters (6.4 ft) and was discovered by workmen who were digging a well in the Roman theater of Arles, France back in 1651, thus giving it its name.
The statue was buried at a depth of six feet, and while further excavations were made, efforts to unearth more of its fragments failed.
Royal sculptor Françis Girardon was assigned to restore the piece, and he added traditional attributes that are representative of Venus, including the apple and mirror she holds in each of her hands.
He also repolished the sculpture’s surface and slimmed its figure as part of his restoration works.
3. Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by Antonio Canova (Room 403, Denon Wing, Level 0)
Next on this list of famous Louvre sculptures is Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, a marble sculpture from 1787.
Made by Italian Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova, the breathtaking masterpiece depicts the legendary lovers in a tender and emotional moment right after Cupid revived Psyche from the deep sleep she had fallen into after drinking from a poisonous jar with a simple kiss.
Spend a few moments to take in the sculpture’s splendor — the gentle, loving Cupid with his graceful wings upright as he holds his one true love in his arms.
The sculpture is beautiful from all angles, especially when it’s drenched in sunlight! You’ll get to see the wings glow in translucence if you visit at the right time of the day!
4. The Ain Ghazal Statue By an unknown artist (Room 303, Sully Wing, Level 0)
The fascinating Ain Ghazal is a Neolithic archaeological site in Jordan that surfaced in limelight after the discovery of numerous lime plaster and reed statues currently known as the Ain Ghazal Statues.
A number of statues were uncovered here and are known to be among the earliest representations of the human form.
Upon discovery, some were shipped across the globe to foreign museums such as the British Museum in London, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Paris Louvre and some stayed in the Jordan Museum.
The Ain Ghazal Statue in the Louvre is the oldest sculpture in the museum, dating back to approximately 9,000 years ago, which adds to its charm and uniqueness.
One fun fact you should know is that the eyes of the statues were painted with bitumen, a rare and precious material that is only naturally formed at the bottom of the Dead Sea.
5. Borghese Gladiator by Agasias of Ephesus (Room 406, Denon Wing, Level 0)
Sculptured based on an antique prototype by ancient Greek sculptor Agasias, the Borghese Gladiator is a majestic marble sculpture of a swordsman.
The statue depicts the warrior in a striding pose, naked and sporting a shield strap on one outstretched arm.
While the identity of the swordsman was never confirmed, German classical scholar Friedrich Wilhelm Thiersch expressed his belief that the statue represents Achilles in a showdown fight with Penthesilea, the queen of the Amazons who fought against the Greeks.
It was initially added to the Borghese collection in Rome before the collection was acquired for the Louvre and it called this Parisian museum its next home to date.
The sculpture is one of the most copied works of the eighteenth century, with many copies scattered across the globe but you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the original when you visit the Louvre.
6. Saint Mary Magdalene by Grego Erhart (Room 169, Denon Wing, Level 1)
Next up on the list of famous artworks in the Louvre is Saint Mary Magdalene, a painted wooden sculpture by Grego Erhart.
Believed to be sculptured for a church in Augsburg, the sculpture was acquired by the Louvre in 1902.
It was taken back to Germany during the Nazi Occupation in between, before making its way back to the museum, and has been on display since.
Many simply call Saint Mary Magdalene The Beautiful German Woman (La Belle Allemande), and the statue is beautiful indeed.
According to legend, Saint Mary Magdalene lived a secluded life in a cave and was raised to the sky by angels every day.
Nude and clothed only by her own long, luscious hair, she wears a gentle, alluring expression with downcast eyes.
7. Diana of Versailles by Praxiteles (Room 348, Sully Wing, Level 0)
Also affectionately and simply called Diana with a Doe, or Diana Huntress, Diana of Versailles is a marble statue that depicts the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana.
Diana can be seen in a knee-length dress and tiara crown, grasping a deer by its horns in one hand, and retrieving an arrow from her quiver in another.
Since its discovery, the sculpture has graced the halls of the Palace of Versailles before being placed in the Louvre in 1798.
Over the years it has become one of the most famous sculptures in the Louvre.
8. Sleeping Hermaphroditus by Unknown and Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Room 348, Sully Wing, Level 0)
In case you didn’t know, a hermaphrodite is a person (or animal) that possesses both male and female s*x organs or other characteristics.
Hermaphrodites have been a popular theme among sculptors in Ancient Rome, though the most famous sculpture of them all is none other than the Sleeping Hermaphroditus, a Roman copy that can be admired at the Louvre.
Those who don’t know what to expect may first see a sensuous n&ked female Venus lying on a bed, only to be surprised by androgynous s*xual features as you inspect it more closely.
While the original sculptor of the statue remains unknown, the mattress it lies on was carved by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1620.
9. Spartacus by Denis Foyatier (Room 105, Richelieu Wing, Level -1)
With his arms folded, body perfect, and expression intense, the larger-than-life sculpture of Spartacus at the Louvre depicts the rebel gladiator upon breaking himself free of his chains.
Since Spartacus’ rise in popularity in various fiction stories as an iconic legendary warrior, the statue became one of the most famous statues at the Louvre museum.
But even then, (at the time of sculpting it) the statue was popular because the French people felt that they could resonate with the freed Prisoner after overthrowing Charles X (the very person who commissioned it) during the French revolution.
The statue is also well-appreciated as Spartacus is rarely represented in sculpture form.
10. Milo of Croton by Pierre Puget (Room 105, Richelieu Wing, Level -1)
Milo of Croton was a Greek wrestler known for his extraordinary strength! He swept victories at 6 Olympic Games (ancient Olympic games), 7 Pythian Games, and over 30 wrestling championships.
He also led the Crotoniate army to a military victory as they fought against the Sybarites in 510 BCE! But it doesn’t end there.
There have been plenty of tales about Milo’s strength and power, the most famous being the narrative that he carried a full-sized live ox upon his shoulders through the stadium at Olympia, and ate it all in a single day.
Back to the sculpture at the Louvre museum, Milo is depicted trying to split a tree trunk with his bare hands, though unfortunately to no avail.
Instead, his hand gets trapped in the trunk causing him to be attacked by a ferocious lion.
11. The Slaves: The Dying Slave And The Rebellious Slave By Michelangelo (Room 403, Denon Wing, Level 0)
Imagine having a gallery at the Louvre named after you! That’s how the art industry respected Michelangelo, who was widely regarded as one of the greatest living artists (and sculptor) of his lifetime.
The Michelangelo Gallery at the Louvre houses masterpieces of Italian sculpture, including a pair of Michelangelo’s famous marble sculptures — the Dying Slave and the Rebellious Slave.
Also simply called The Slaves (or Michelangelo’s Slaves), the two sculptures were commissioned for Pope Julius II’s tomb back in 1513.
The Rebellion Slave was crafted first and shows a naked big-boned man with his top drawn upwards just above his chest and his neck angled to the left as if he is trying to be freed from the constraints used to bind him.
Following closely is the Dying Slave, a depiction of another naked, muscular man, deep in sleep and at peace as the last drop of life leaves his body.
12. The Three Graces by Antonio Canova (Room 348, Sully Wing, Level 0)
Gracious, beautifully sculptured, and mysterious, the Three Graces is a Neoclassical sculpture of the three daughters of Zeus — Euphrosyne, Aglaea, and Thalia, who represent mirth, elegance, and beauty respectively.
The Graces served as inspiration for many great artists in the past and entertained guests at banquets, dinners, and gatherings with their charm and beauty.
The masterpiece at the Louvre was carved in Rome by Antonio Canova and restored by Nicolas Cordier, and is made out of a single slab of white marble that perfectly highlights the soft and flawless flesh of the Graces.
The sisters are huddled with their heads close and arms around each other in a peaceful embrace, showcasing unity, which is one of the sculpture’s main themes.
13. Moai Statue from Easter Island (Room 429, Denon Wing, Level 0)
The Pavillon des Sessions is a section located to the south of the Louvre, where over 100 sculptural artworks from across the world are displayed and The Moai Statue from Easter Island is one popular artwork housed there.
The remote Easter Island in Chile is famous for being the site where nearly 1,000 monumental statues called moai were created and found.
These monolithic human figures were carved by the people on the island decades ago to watch over sacred sites.
They’re recognizable by their disproportionate, overly large heads, elongated noses, and pouting lips.
Just a handful of moai were removed from Easter Island and transported across the globe, with one of them on display at the Louvre Museum, so make sure to catch a glimpse of this unique statue while you’re there.
14. The Seated Scribe by Ancient Egyptian (Room 635, Sully Wing, Level 1)
The Seated Scribe is a painted limestone sculpture that’s part of the Louvre’s precious Egyptian collection.
Discovered by French archaeologist Auguste Mariette in Egypt, the sculpture is estimated to be aged 4,000 years old.
Seated in a cross-legged position and dressed in a white kilt, the sculpture has realistic features and an alert facial expression that looks almost as if the scribe is looking straight at you.
The most fascinating feature of the statue is none other than its exceptionally life-like eyes which are rimmed with copper and inlaid with polished crystals. Even its irises are delicately layered with organic material which gives the eyes a blue hue.
15. The Great Sphinx of Tanis (Room 338, Sully Wing, Level -1)
Also discovered in Egypt in the ruins of the temple of Amun-Ra, the Great Sphinx of Tanis is another one of the Louvre museum’s famous statues.
Believed to date back as early as the 26th century BC, the sculpture was acquired by the Louvre in 1826 and is currently displayed in the crypt created by Louvre architect Albert Ferran, seemingly guarding the entrance to the Louvre’s Department of Egyptian Antiquities.
Carved from a single block of granite, the Great Sphinx of Tanis is one of the largest sphinxes outside of Egypt and depicts an unknown Pharaoh (a common title used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt) with the body of a lion and a human face.
Be sure to catch a glimpse of this sculptural masterpiece while you’re at the Louvre.
16. Winged Victory of Samothrace by Unknown ( Room 703, Denon Wing, Level 1)
Proudly standing at the top of the museum’s monumental Daru grand staircase since 1884, the Winged Victory of Samothrace is one of the famous Louvre statues.
With ancient roots that trace back to the island of Samothrace, the sculpture is an ancient Greek masterpiece that was discovered in 1863 and was supposed to be a full representation of the goddess Niké.
The statue is beautiful but also broken and incomplete! While over 100 fragments were unearthed where it was found, searches for its head and arms were futile, but it’s still breathtaking and even more mysterious.
17. The Caryatids by Jean Goujon (Room 348, Sully Wing, Level 0)
A caryatid is a female sculpture that serves as architectural support for an entablature, much like a column or pillar.
The four Caryatids of the Louvre were sculpted by Jean Goujon in 1550, and have witnessed plenty of historical events throughout the years. Fashioned after the Erechtheion in Acropolis, Athens, they are quite a sight to behold.
The four sculptures stand at the end of the Salle des Caryatides, supporting a musician’s balcony on their heads and seemingly welcoming visitors to the Renaissance-style room in one of the oldest sections of the museum.
The room was once designed as a royal ballroom and has served many different roles over the years from a marriage hall to a funeral parlor, and an event venue for plenty of important historical events.
Today, Salle des Caryatides is home to some of the most famous statues in Paris, including a handful already mentioned in this article.
Ready to see the famous statues in the Louvre museum? As mentioned earlier, it’s quite impossible to see everything there is in the museum if you only have a couple of hours to spare, but I hope this guide on famous sculptures in the Louvre helps you prioritize what to check out while you’re there.
Make sure to plan your visit and pre-book your tickets online to skip the ticketing queue!
I also suggest getting a map of the museum (available at the information center at the entrance of the museum or downloadable online) to easily locate the sculptures and artwork you’d like to see. Have a fun time at the Louvre!
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Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris
- Famous Churches to visit in Paris
- Fun Free things to do in Paris
- Best Neighborhoods in Paris
- Beautiful Covered Passages of Paris
- Fun non-touristy things to do in Paris
- Fun facts about Paris
- Interesting facts about the Arc de Triomphe
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