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The collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

The Louvre Palace, which houses the museum, was begun as a fortress by Philip II in the 12th century to protect the city from English soldiers which were in Normandy.

By the mid-18th century there were an increasing number of proposals to create a public gallery, with the art critic La Font de Saint-Yenne publishing, in 1747, a call for a display of the royal collection.

On 14 October 1750, Louis XV agreed and sanctioned a display of 96 pieces from the royal collection, mounted in the Galerie royale de peinture of the Luxembourg Palace.

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Remnants of this castle are still visible in the crypt.

this territory probably did not correspond exactly to the modern site, however.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property.He was commended to Louis XIV of France, the "Sun King", by Jean-Baptiste Colbert (29 August 1619 – 6 September 1683) as being “the most skilled craftsman in his profession”.Before the fire of 1720 destroyed them, André-Charles Boulle held priceless works of art in the Louvre, including forty-eight drawings by Raphael'.The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces.Holdings have grown steadily through donations and bequests since the Third Republic.

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