Contents of the database
The database for the Louvre’s collections consists of entries for more than 480,000 works of art that are part of the national collections and registered in the inventories of the museum’s eight curatorial departments (Near Eastern Antiquities; Egyptian Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Paintings; Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Sculpture; Prints and Drawings; Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Decorative Arts), those of the History of the Louvre department, or the inventories of the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, administratively attached to the Louvre since 2004.
The Collections database also includes so-called ‘MNR’ works (Musées Nationaux Récupération, or National Museums Recovery), recovered after WWII, retrieved by the Office des Biens et Intérêts Privés and pending return to the legitimate owners. A list of all MNR works conserved at the Musée du Louvre is available in a dedicated album and may also be consulted in the French Ministry of Culture's Rose Valland database.
Lastly, the Louvre Collections database includes information on works on long-term loan from other French or foreign institutions such as the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the Petit Palais, the Fonds National d'Art Contemporain, the British Museum and the archaeological museum of Heraklion.
Works are presented in the Collections database regardless of where they are currently located: on display in the Musée du Louvre or Musée Delacroix, visible in the gardens, on long-term loan in France or abroad, in storage, etc. Information about their location is included in each entry.
The entries in the Collections database, updated daily based on input from management and documentation services, are written by a team of experts from the Louvre, notably curators, research, documentation and management services from each of the eight curatorial departments and the Musée Delacroix, the History of the Louvre department, the gardens subdepartment, and the acquisitions and preventive conservation divisions. The Research and Collections Department oversees the operational and scientific coordination of the database, with support from IT staff.
The majority of the artwork entries include photographs taken during shoots organised by the Musée du Louvre – with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais and photographers contracted by the Louvre – to ensure the collections are fully documented with recent images of professional quality. However, some of the artwork entries do include non-professional photographs. There are two main reasons for this: in most cases, the works in question are on loan in other institutions in France or abroad and the Louvre is as such unable to organise a professional shoot; in other instances, the photographs have been taken by Louvre staff members while they were working on the artwork (conservation treatment, inventory project, etc.) and are provided on a temporary basis pending a scheduled professional shoot. The overarching idea is that in order to allow users to identify the artworks, it is better to provide at least one photograph, even if of poorer quality, than none at all. Having visual elements that allow for the proper identification of artworks is not only important for the general public, but also for the efforts being made to fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
The Louvre’s collections site offers several research tools: full-text search engine; advanced search form; features that filter search results according to date of creation, collection the work belongs to, where the work is located, category of work, artist/maker; themed albums; and an interactive map to find works on display in the museum. Search results can also be exported as a flat file (CSV). Each entry has its own URL based on the ARK identification protocol to guarantee uniqueness and durability. The permalink is located at the bottom of each entry. The site allows users to download texts about the artwork in JSON format (JSON Documentation).