Atlas Shrugged: Louvre Archive Launches in English

With a decent amount of fanfare, we learned this week that the Louvre – all 653,000 square feet of it – will henceforth catalog 98 percent of the pieces in the permanent collection online, in English. Quelle horreur! The database, called Atlas, launched today so we did the dirty work for you. Here’s what’s what.

We imagined some wacky European intro screen with a flashy interface and gobs of images. We hoped for a special keypad instead of a password, or at least the receipt of a French visa for our pains. What we got was no answer from the PR person and little indication on the Louvre’s main website that anything at all was different, or better. However, under the Collections tab on the top menu bar, there’s a box on the lower right hand side that will direct you to Atlas. And yes, you must scroll down to get there.

Once inside Atlas, the site provides a breakdown of collected objects, with the largest concentrations in Decorative Arts, Greek and Roman Antiquities, and Near Eastern Antiquities respectively. This is where it gets fun (at least for the art history nerds among us). The results are listed along with a respectably-sized image as well as the exact location – wing, gallery, room – of the object. That’s quite informative when you’re considering even a virtual visit to one of the world’s largest museums.

It’s a solid resource, though there are a few kinks to work out. We typed “Mona Lisa”,”La Joconde” and “La Gioconda” into the search bar with no results resembling a woman without eyebrows painted by Leonardo da Vinci. We managed to find the room housing the elusive minx by using the room search function and examining a map; however, if what is arguably the museum’s – and the world’s – most notorious painting isn’t listed in the archives, we may have a problem.

There she is! In the Mona Lisa room on the 1st floor of the Denon wing.