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Following the Egyptian campaign of 1798–1801, Napoléon appointed the museum's first director, Dominique Vivant Denon.
Holdings have grown steadily through donations and bequests since the Third Republic.
The public was given free accessibility on three days per week, which was "perceived as a major accomplishment and was generally appreciated".
In 1794, France's revolutionary armies began bringing pieces from Northern Europe, augmented after the Treaty of Tolentino (1797) by works from the Vatican, such as Laocoön and His Sons and the Apollo Belvedere, to establish the Louvre as a museum and as a "sign of popular sovereignty".
Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum.
Due to the urban expansion of the city, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function and, in 1546, was converted by Francis I into the main residence of the French Kings.