Originally a simple defensive fortress, the Louvre was for a long time one of the main residences of French kings. It became a museum in 1793, and now exhibits over 73,000 sq. m of Western artworks from the Middle Ages to 1848, as well as the art of the ancient civilizations that preceded and influenced them. Some 35,000 artworks are on display, the oldest of which date back over seven thousand years. The museum collections are grouped into eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Islamic Art; Paintings; Sculptures; Decorative Arts; and Prints and Drawings.
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