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Aerial view of the Louvre and the Tuileries Garden, 1953.
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Not originally published in LIFE. Aerial view of the Louvre and the Tuileries Garden, 1953.Dmitri Kessel—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Aerial view of the Louvre and the Tuileries Garden, 1953.
Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, the Louvre, 1953.
Patrons view Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, the Louvre, 1953.
The Raft of the Medusa, the Louvre
Married couple and their young daughter view the crown of King Louis XV at the Louvre, 1953.
Not originally published in LIFE. Aerial view of the Louvre and the Tuileries Garden, 1953.
Dmitri Kessel—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
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LIFE Goes to the Louvre, 1953

Aug 07, 2012

When it comes to the excellence of their collections, the beauty of their galleries and the sheer breadth of their cultural significance, few museums on earth can match Paris' monumental jewel, the Louvre. In 1953, when LIFE photographer Dmitri Kessel visited, many of the Louvre's rooms had recently been reorganized and redecorated — but the intrinsic, inherent grandeur of the vast place (eight miles of galleries) remained undiminished.

Here, LIFE.com presents a selection of Kessel's pictures of the scenes inside what LIFE unhesitatingly called "the world's top museum" — a title to which, even today, six decades later, the wonderful, storied, glorious Louvre can arguably still lay claim.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

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