The Museum of the Revolution and the "Musée Napoléon"

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon
The Baron Vivant Denon (1747-1825)(1747-1825)
Canvas - H 0,61 m; W 0,51 m

It was the Revolution which was to accomplish the already very advanced plan to make the existing collections accessible to the public. A commission was entrusted with the job of organising the "Muséum central des Arts" which opened in 1793. Apart from the collections of the king and those of the Academy, it included the property seized from the Church and from émigrés.

After 1794, very many works of art came to the Louvre via the victorious revolutionary armies, with a view to establishing a major European museum here. Masterpieces from Italy arrived in Paris with great ceremony in July 1798. The sheer number of these necessitated a reorganisation of the museum, which was redecorated and inaugurated in 1800.

Renamed the "musée Napoléon" in 1803, it continued to grow under the management of Vivant Denon, via orders, purchases and war captures. The collection was serious depleted as a result of works which were returned to the allies in 1815.

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