|Many additions and renovations were carried out over the next three centuries until Louis XIV, in 1674, put an end to construction at the Louvre and made Versailles the official residence of the French monarch. As Versailles remained thus until the Revolution, the Louvre ceased to symbolise the French monarchy.
In 1699, the Grande Gallerie of the Louvre was utilised for a public art exhibition. The success of this lead to further exhibitions which from 1725 were regularly held in the Grande Salon at the end of the Grande Gallerie, thus the name 'Salon' became connected with such events.
In 1765 public opinion, and suggestions from the writers of the time, led to the Louvre being earmarked to become a Palace of Arts and Sciences. It was not until after the Revolution in August 1793 that the Louvre museum was established by the French Republic .
Today the Louvre houses more than 6000 European paintings dating from the 13th century to the19th century. Its largest collection is of prints and drawings with an inventory of 130000.
Other collections include Islamic art , Oriental Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, and Greek Antiquities with pieces that date back as far as the seventh millenium B.C.
The significance of this great art museum cannot be understated. It has absorbed and reflects the centuries of change in the political and social environment in which it has played many roles. It has become a symbol of art and a mecca for artists and art lovers alike. Indeed the Louvre "embodies for the vast public the very concept of the term 'museum' " 1
1 Paintings in the Louvre, p11