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Gallery of Apollo
This gallery is perhaps one of the most impressive of the museum…
King Louis XIV, the mythical Sun King who took the image of the God Apollo, commissioned the decoration of this room before leaving the Louvre to go live in Versailles, taking his Court with him, including his favourite painter, Charles Lebrun. Therefore, the gallery remained incomplete and could not be finished until the 19th century.
If you look closely at the ceiling in the middle of the gallery, you can see a painting of Apollo killing Python, work painted by Eugène Delacroix himself. The abundance of gold and the highly decorated detail is a reminder of the Palace of Versailles. In fact, this gallery is considered to be its prototype.
The link between Apollo and Louis is important: Apollo is the Greek God of the sun, arts and poetry. Louis XIV was also known as the Sun King and was a great patron of the arts.
The gallery is a monumental and collective works of art, showing a wide range of artists from the 17th to the 19th centuries. It can be considered as a hall of fame, as it exposes numerous portraits of Kings tapestries, artists and architects who built the Louvre during its 800 years of history.
Additionally, it has a central theme: time. When entering the gallery, the first painting on the ceiling represents Diana of the hunt, but also the moon! She wears her half-moon crown indicating it is midnight. Diana is also Apollo's twin sister, and therefore, it seems appropriate to see her first. Apollo represents midday, as the sun appears burning behind him. As you advance into the gallery, you may see the sunrise or Aurora. The months of the year with their corresponding signs of zodiac are also visible.
The Royal jewels are now housed in the gallery. They are the most famous in France, having passed through the hands of many people over the centuries, from Kings and Queens to Emperors and Empresses. You can see them at the end of the gallery.