Why The Louvre Is Moving The 'Mona Lisa' To a New Location

The Louvre is eyeing a new home for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. According to a new report, the museum’s crown jewel is at the center of renovation plans aimed at quelling “disappointment” over the artwork’s crowded viewing experience. Per the French newspaper Le Figaro, the da Vinci masterpiece—currently housed in the museum’s Denon wing—would be relocated to its own separate chamber in the basement of the institution.

Reportedly, the renovation would allow guests to bypass the famous glass pyramid entrance in favor of two underground entry points: one for the Mona Lisa and the other for temporary exhibitions. The budget for the museum’s overhaul is estimated to be €500 million but could see a potential reduction due to efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron to curb state spending.

“We don’t welcome visitors very well in this room, so we feel we’re not doing our job properly,” Laurence des Cars, director of the Louvre, explained. “Moving the Mona Lisa to a separate room could put an end to public disappointment.” de Cars also mentioned that the renovation would allow guests to have a more pleasurable viewing experience with the other works that are kept near the Mona Lisa, like Veronese’s The Wedding Feast at Cana, which she says is obscured by selfie poles.

Vincent Delieuvin, the Louvre’s chief curator of 16th-century Italian painting, echoed de Cars’s statement. “We’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but this time everyone is in agreement,” he told Le Figaro, adding that “It’s a large room, and the Mona Lisa is at the back, behind its security glass, so at first glance it looks like a postage stamp.”


The painting, which depicts the Italian noblewoman Lisa del Giocondo, receives around 30,000 visitors daily with wait times that can run up to two hours. It is kept behind bullet-proof and anti-reflective glass which, in addition to temperature and humidity settings, can cause quite an unpleasant viewing experience. No wonder online reviews of the portrait often deem it as “the world’s most disappointing masterpiece.” Art lovers have also long complained that the painting overshadows the other artwork displayed nearby.

In January, the Mona Lisa was at the center of a protest in which activists from Riposte Alimentaire threw pumpkin soup at the painting. While the painting was not damaged, the country’s culture minister Rachida Dati called the event an “attack” on “our heritage.” Looks like a new home might be the best for all parties.


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