frenchpaint webquest
History of the Louvre Museum
 and French Painting 1400-1800

A Webquest for students of French IV and V
Designed by Eileen Peterson Twitchell
Photography Courtesy of Jim Smith

| Introduction  |  Task  |  Process  |  Evaluation  | Treasure Hunt  |  Web Quest |
Conclusion  |  Credits  |


Follow the evolution of the Louvre from fortress to palace to museum and discover the treasures inside it today.  As you move through historical periods, you will see the paintings artists produced for the patrons of art in French society
during the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococco, Neoclassical, and Romantic periods.

The Task

Complete the Treasure Hunt on the Louvre by visiting all the specified websites and answering the related questions.  Then, as a budding art critic, choose one artist from a period and explain how his paintings demonstrate the artistic and socio-political preferences associated with French culture of the time.

The Process

Please read all ten steps in this process before proceeding to either the Treasure Hunt or the WebQuest.

1.  You will choose a period to study and meet with a group of 3-5 students to discuss your cultural era and the representative painters.  Assess how much your group already knows about the trends and the major artists of the times.

2.  Individually, before your next meeting, complete the Treasure Hunt and store your answers to the questions about each website you visit in your portfolio in a file called Louvre Treasure Hunt.

3.  Proceed to the WebQuest that corresponds to your period in history:  Renaissance, Baroque, Rococco, NeoClassical, or Romantic, and visit the links that display and describe paintings.  You may also gain valuable information by reading biographies of the artists.

4.  Select an artist and three of his paintings that you will describe in terms of:

     a)  dominant social powers or conflicts
     b)  political events
     c)  cultural preferences
     d)  artistic developments

5.  Discuss your ideas, and with your group create a one-paragraph statement defining the characteriestics of the period you will be studying.

6.  Draft a paper of at least ten paragraphs in your on-line portfolio describing at least three paintings by a single artist of your period.  This first draft may be in English. Be sure to check for completeness of content (see #4).  If you draft in French, also look for proper syntax and grammar as well as spelling and punctuation.

7.  Obtain the editorial comments of one group member.

8.  Submit the edited version as the first draft of your review.  Include the definition statement describing your period at the top of your review.

9.  Create the French draft of your review, and have two members of your group review the paper for correct grammar, spelling, and syntax.  Pay close attention to subject/verb agreement and to verb tense.

10. Submit your final review on-line.


    Artist Review                Definition Statement                Treasure Hunt

Content   (60 points)           Content    (15 points)             Correct  (15 points)
   Complete         30                             5
    Coherent          15                            5
    Correct            15                             5

Language (40 points)            Language (20 points)
    Syntax             20                              8
    Spelling             5                              4
    Grammar         10                              4
    Punctuation       5                              4

Treasure Hunt

How did the Louvre begin its long life at the heart of Paris?  By the time of the Renaissance the Louvre was already 300 years old.  Look at the  medeival Louvre  (choose English or French).  Go to "La ville" and select "Le plan," then "Le Louvre."

1.  What do you notice about the location of the original Louvre?
2.  What purpuse did the donjon serve?  Who destroyed it?

The Louvre would undergo a series of transformations under a succession of 20 kings.  Here is a beautiful exterior view of the original Gothic structure from a famous manuscript.  In the webmuseum select "Medieval Art" and "fourth quarter."

3.  Who made the Louvre into a royal palace?
4.  What does this illumination remind you of?
5.  Where can this original image be found?

Today's Louvre was remade in the style of the French Renaissance with pavillons and long galleries to house a growing household of courtiers and royal servants.  At architecture you may see the present exterior of the building.

6.  What French Renaissance innovation is featured prominently on the Louvre?
7.  For whom is this typically French architectural design named?

One French king had more influence on the ultimate shape of the Louvre than any other.  He also created an extensive collection of objects that forms the base of today's Louvre Museum, and he founded the The Roayl Academy of Painting and Sculpture.

8.  Who created the original collection of art of the Louvre Museum?
9.  What led to the abandonment of the Louvre Palace for 50 years?

If you would like to see images of the Louvre and the Tuileries Palaces at the time when citizens were burning Paris during the Commune of 1871, go to Northwestern University.
Now visit  Paris, historical guided tour  to learn more about the Louvre.

10. Why was the Louvre originally built?
11. What enemies did the Parisians most fear during the Middle Ages?
12. Who were the two great Renaissance architects of the Louvre?
13. What are three of the great treasures housed in the Louvre Museum?

Vist the  walking tour  to see the Louvre at night and to go inside.  Finally, go to museum history   and read about the formation of the Museum.

14. How many paintings did Francois I assemble in his collection?  Louis XIV?
15. Whose idea was it to open the Louvre as a public museum?  In what year did the museum open?

If you would like to see more of the museum's collections, go to  the Louvre Museum  where you can take a virtual tour of any of the galleries.

Web Quest

The Paintings of France 1400-1800

At the official  website of the Louvre Museum, you may see samples of painters who belong to each of the following historical periods.  Begin by visiting the collections, selecting "paintings", "selected works," and "century."  Read about the artists exhibited there and then proceed to the period you selected below.

French artists visiting Italy brought back to France new techniques during the 1400 and 1500's.  You may learn about some of these features at  Renaissance if you click on "How to recognize a Renaissance Painting."  Jean Fouquet absorbed an interest in classical subjects and techniques during his visit.  Francois Clouet combined both Flemish and Italian influences in his portraits, while  Antoine Caron  , Claude Vignon , and the early Simon Vouet adopted the Italian Mannerist style so dominant in the artistic capital of Rome.  Visit these sites:   Fouquet Jean Clouet Clouet Caron Moulins Jean Hey , and  St. Gilles to see more beautiful masterpieces of the French Renaissance.

Under its great patron, Louis XIV, French art flourished in the XVIIth Centuryand continued into the XIXth.  Read the description of this important era at baroque art.  Look at late Simon VouetLaurent de la Hire, Philippe de Champaigne, the great master Charles LeBrun, and his student Charles de la FosseJean Francois de Troy furnished a transition to the more flowery rococco style while Nicolas Poussin , Sebastien Bourdon , and the early Simon Vouet followed the more restrained classical style favored by Louis XIV. Claude Lorrain , master of the landscape genre, would serve as model and inspiration for generations of artists to come.  Also see "Olga's Gallery" online for  Poussin, and  Georges de la Tour for more French classicist works.  Additional information about the baroque period is available at  Baroque Notes, and a catalog of online works takes you to website collections around the world.

As the 1700's began baroque art dominated the centers of patronage.  But in France, a more fanciful and embellished style developed that mirrored the indulgent lifestyles of the aristocracy.  Read about this period at Age of Enlightenment.  Click on links to "historical background," "lightheartedness,"  "reign of Louis XV" to see artists painting in the "rocaille" style.  Jean-Antoine Watteau, Francois Boucher, and  Jean-Honore Fragonard are the names most associated with this style.  An  introduction, overview, and discussion of  Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin give excellent information about all these artists at the National Gallery.  A special collection of  Chardin's works are available online through the Metropolitan Museum.  The portrait artist Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Le Brun painted hundreds of women and bourgois subjects while Nicolas Lancret also created works in the rococco style glorifying the bourgeoisie and appealing to their interests (and pocketbooks).  Visit also  Boucher, Fragonard  and  Watteau for more masterworks of this quintessentially French period of painting.

At the same time the rococco movement was celebrating the "joie de vivre" of both aristrocrats and bourgeoisie, the  Neoclassicists focused on the sober and exalting side of history and current events.
Click on links to the "reign of Louis XVI," "the Revolution," and the artist "David" in the Age of Enlightenment.  The "virtues of Ancient Rome" (another good link on this webmuseum page) were celebrated by  Jacques-Louis David  and Jean-Aguste-Dominque Ingres.  A large special collection of Ingres' portraits are at the Met online, and both  David and  Ingres appear at many other sites online.

If the Neoclassicists honored the virtue of legendary and contemporary heroism, the Romanticists ellicited great emotion in their depictions of personal, national or mythological drama.  Eugene Delacroix referred to events of the French Revolution through the symbolism of ancient events as well as by painting the conflict or its participants.  Antoine-Jean Le Gros seized  the opportunity to glamorize the exploits of Napoleon, while  (Jean-Louis-Andre) Theodore Gericault and Jean-Baptiste Greuze appealed to the drama of everyday life at home and in distant, exotic locations.  Theodore Chasseriau combined elements of both classicism and romanticism.  Many works by  Delacroix Le Gros Gericault Greuze , and  Chasseriau are available online, along with biographies of the artists.


You have now surveyed the history of France during her glory years.  You have  learned a great deal about art and painting and the treasures housed in the Louvre Museum, itself a priceless work of art.

You also have links to many excellent on-line collections where you may pursue further acquaintance with the great artists of France and the world.

Credits & References

The following websites form the basis of this WebQuest:

Age of Enlightenment     [ ]
Architecture                  [ ]
Art History                    [ ]
Artcyclopedia                [ ]
Baroque Notes              [ ]
KFKI Art Index             [ ]
Louvre Museum            [ ]
Metropolitan Museum    [ ]
National Gallery of Art   [ ]
Olga's Gallery                [ ]
Paris at the Time of
Louis-Philippe               [ ]
Paris Pages                   [ ]
WebMusem                  [ ]