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Drawings, Prints and PastelsThe Rotonde Sully

Prints and Drawings section Rotonde Sully North

Just a few steps away from the Pyramid is the Rotonde Sully, where the Louvre’s collection of prints and drawings is housed in two rooms with carefully controlled lighting. Here you can discover drawing and print-making techniques and admire the work of the greatest European artists.

A huge and varied collection

The Louvre’s graphic arts collection is one of the largest in the world! It comprises almost 250,000 works including drawings, pastels, prints and miniatures dating from the 11th to the 19th century. The greatest names are represented: the Italian masters Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and Titian, the French artists Nicolas Poussin, Charles Le Brun, Watteau, Delacroix, Géricault and Ingres, and outstanding Northern European painters such as Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens.

The wide range of media represented includes single-sheet drawings, illustrated books, illuminated medieval manuscripts and artists’ sketchbooks. The biggest works are huge ‘cartoons’ – full-scale preparatory drawings for large paintings or tapestries.

Extremely fragile works

This collection is also one of the most fragile. The works cannot be permanently on display as they are very sensitive to light, but they may be shown in temporary exhibitions under strictly controlled conditions of light, temperature and humidity. After a maximum of four months’ exposure, they are returned to the darkness of the storerooms for the next five years at least.

However, you can see the department’s treasures on the museum’s collection website; they can also be viewed by appointment in the department’s Viewing Room.

Prints and Drawings section, Rotonde Sully (north)

Understanding drawing techniques

Charcoal, pencil, red chalk, pastels, intaglio printing, paper-making… the techniques related to drawing and printing are many and varied. In addition to its temporary exhibitions, the Rotonde Sully has a permanent learning section where you can find out about these techniques. Six different themes are explored: drawing media, dry and wet drawing techniques, pastels, miniatures and engravings.

The use of drawing and printing tools is demonstrated with short films of highly skilled artists at work.

À la découverte des gestes et des techniques du dessin, du pastel, de la miniature

Masterpieces from the collection

A powdery portrait of a cultured lady

Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, Full-length Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour

Another idealised portrait

Leonardo da Vinci, Portrait of Isabella d'Este

Rembrandt - The Three Crosses

Rembrandt, The Three Crosses

Prints and drawings at the Louvre

  • Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, Full-length Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour

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Techniques and expertise

Engraving technique

Pastel technique

The technique of paper making

More to explore

Think big!

Les Salles Rouges (The Red Rooms)