A feature length BBC documentary aired in 2013 exploring the surprising history of the Louvre, a French institution, and the glorious art which is contained inside it. Paris based writer Andrew Hussey also studies the changing face of the Louvre itself, the latest major change being the introduction of a new Islamic gallery. The museum was first opened in 1793 and initially exhibited 537 paintings with the majority either being owned by the French Royal family or confiscated from the church. The collection increased under Napoleon, but after his abdication many pieces were returned to their owners having been stolen by his armies.
The Louvre is the largest museum in the world and the second most visited museum in the world, seeing 8 million visitors per annum, it exhibits almost 35000 items at any one time from prehistoric times all the way up to the 21st century. Its most famous piece is of course the Mona Lisa, and it was once famously stolen from the Louvre.