Been to the Louvre?
Yea? Well, stop bragging! We get it, you’re sooooo cultured!
Haven’t been to the Louvre? France out of your budget? Well, we have a solution to your problem (if your problem is an undying desire to visit the most visited museum in the world).

In the 1830s, Samuel Morse painted Gallery of the Louvre, a 6 feet tall by 9 feet wide painting that will be on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC until July 8, 2012.

Samuel F. B. Morse Gallery of the Louvre, 1831–1833 oil on canvas Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Photo Credit National Gallery of Art

Gallery of the Louvre depicts a large, red-hued room filled with art work along with several people painting on easels. On the walls of this room hangs more than 3 dozens works of art that were on display at the Louvre in the mid-19th century. The masterpieces honored in Morese’s Gallery of the Louvre include works by Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Veronese, Caravaggio, Rubens, Van Dyck and Watteau. The painting also features the artist himself, leaning over his daughter as she sketches, and his friend (and author) James Fenimore Cooper at left with his wife and daughter.

To paint Gallery of the Louvre, Morse took his giant canvas from room to room in the Louvre, painting mini copies of each masterpiece on his canvas. It was like a Best Of compilation, long before musicians were selling their greatest hits on CDs.

“There were no museums (in the US), as yet, in the 1830s, and no color representations of paintings,” author David McCullough tells NPR’s Susan Stamberg. “So he was going to bring the culture of Europe — mainly the Renaissance Italian masterpieces in the Louvre collection — back to the United States for the benefit of his countrymen.”

And now YOU can see the masterpieces of the Louvre collection for yourself – without having to fly to France.

But… NGA is FREE! Can’t get much better than that…

– Annie Erling Gofus