The Richelieu Wing is on the northern side of the Louvre, next to Rue de Rivoli.  

Coustou 'Horses of Marly'The Lower Ground Floor focuses on French sculpture where you will find Coustou's Horses of Marly standing in the Cour Marly courtyard which was named after the work.   The two sculptures show horses restrained by  grooms are considered a French masterpieces and were relocated from the grounds of the Château de Marly to the Louvre to reflect their significance.  They represent the primitive struggle between two wild forces, an unbroken horse and a naked man, each at the pitch of exertion.


Louvre Mantes CarpetRooom 11 holds the huge and exquisite Mantes Carpet - a 16th century Persian carpet that is located in the Islamic Art section. Brought into France in the 19th century, this carpet is known for its rich embroidery that has a naturalistic display of flowers, leaves, animals, including a crouching tiger, and hunting scenes.The depicted animals also included mythical Chinese beasts such as dragons, phoeniz and a unicorn-like kilin.  The carpet is thought to have arrived in France on a diplomatic mission and was presented to the church of Mantes for use on ceremonial occasions.


Louvre Code of HammurabiThe Ground Floor is also dominated by French sculpture, though the western section houses Near Eastern antiquities including the notable Code of Hammurabi in room 3. Featured in the Mesopotamian collection, this black basalt stele structure dates back to the 18th century BC, when it was erected by King Hammurabi, documenting the laws of his reign. Written in the Akkadian language, the code gives historical information about the king, a lyrical epilogue of his legal work as well as literary passages that describe the 300 laws of this ancient society.The laws cover civil and criminal law and how it is variously applied to the three classes of society- the awilu (upper class), the muskenu (middle class) and wardu and amtu (male and female slaves respectively).  The Code predates Biblical law.


The First Floor chronologically assembles historical treasures and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century.


Vermeer 'The Lacemaker'Vermeer 'The Astronomer'The Second Floor focuses on French, German and Dutch paintings. In room 38 is Vermeer's sublime and clearly recognizable piece The Lacemaker, a gentle masterpiece that Renoir considered the most beautiful painting in the world.  A young lacemaker was probably a member of the Delft bourgeoisie, is intensely involved in her intricate work and is separated from the viewer by this and the artist’s ability to create several depths of field.  Another of Vermeer’s work in the same room that shows an intricate treatment of light and a solitary subject is The Astronomer.  Although not as intimate as The Lacemaker, it shows his love of his subject and a carefully created atmosphere of light and detail.


Durer 'Portrait of the Artist with a Thistle'Durer's Portrait of the Artist holding a Thistle is located in room 8, and is remarkable as it represents the first independent self-portrait in Western painting.  Durer made frequent similes between his own portraits and those of Christ, suggesting he took himself rather too seriously. The thistle is thought to allude to Christ’s crown of thorns (and perhaps fidelity to his fiancé) and in later works his formal symmetrical self-portraits adopted the Renaissance form of Christ’s representation.  It is, nevertheless, it is a highly sophisticated work for a 22 year old artist.

 

 

 

Van Eyck 'The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin'J. van Eych's The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin depicts Chancellor Rolin, who commissioned the work, before the Virgin and Child and is dense with symbolism including the Old Testament, flowers representing Mary’s purity and peacocks representing immortality.  In contrast to the holiness of the foreground is a bustling townscape beyond the balcony.  Van Eych is one of the first painters who used oil and was a highly innovative Flemish artist.

 

 



Rembrandt 'Bathsheba'In room 31 resides a collection of the most reputable paintings by renowned 17th century Dutch painter, Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rjin. Known for his realistic and inferential portraits, Rembrandt 'Self Portrait'landscape and narrative paintings, Rembrandt contributed greatly to the Dutch Golden Age. One of the most touching pieces is the Bathsheba painting that depicts the agony of a young wife, when she receives an adulterous invitation from a lustful King David.  The room also contains three powerful and introspective Self Portraits.

 

 

Nicolas Poussin’s four canvasses titled Four Seasons are in room 16.  In 1665, the duke of Richelieu lost twenty-five paintings from his collection in a game of tennis against the king; thirteen of them being Poussins. Four Seasons thus joined the royal collections at Versailles and subsequently the national collections in the Louvre and placed in the Richelieu Wing, which was thus named after the duke.  Each painting has complex iconographic biblical Poussin 'Four Seasons'references and, in contrast to Durer’s bombast, the artist deliberately removes his own ego and allows Nature’s power to speak for itself, yet biring all his ecperience as an artist to bear on his works.  Spring links the rebirth of nature to Adam and Eve in a morning landscape; Summer is characterized by the harvest and presents the story of Ruth and Boaz with the sun at its zenith; Autumn is evoked by the wine harvest and a late afternoon light showing grapes from Canaan; and, finally, Winter sets the scene of the Flood in a crepuscular light.