The Louvre Could Move Mona Lisa To Underground Chamber

The Louvre is Considering Moving Mona Lisa to an Underground Chamber, in Order to Avoid 'Public Disappointment'.

Apr 28, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The Anne of Cleves, The Louvre.
The museum. Via Wikipedia.


The Louvre is considering moving the Mona Lisa to an underground chamber. To see this work of art often requires hours of waiting in line. All of this is just to observe for a few seconds and take a few selfies. For tourists, this is frequently a frustrating and unsatisfying experience. A new survey of 18,000 assessments called the Renaissance portrait “the world’s most disappointing masterpiece.”


How Would the Room Look Like?

The Louvre Paris
Visitors looking at the Mona Lisa in May 2021. PHOTO: MARC PIASECKI/GETTY IMAGES.


Bulletproof and anti-reflective glass shields Da Vinci’s famous picture of an almost smiling woman. There are also carefully regulated humidity and temperature levels to guarantee the preservation of the painting. The Mona Lisa might relocate to a subterranean room, in an attempt to address this issue. Louvre director Laurence des Cars recently suggested the relocation. He said it should go to a dedicated room constructed in the institution’s basement.


“We don’t welcome visitors very well in this room, so we feel we’re not doing our job properly”, de Cars told staff and supervisors. “Moving the Mona Lisa to a separate room could put an end to public disappointment”. “We’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but this time everyone is in agreement”, Vincent Delieuvin, the Louvre’s chief curator of 16th-century Italian painting said.


The Louvre Paris
Can you see the Mona Lisa? In 2019, pre-pandemic, many tourists never got closer than this. Credit…


“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”, he said. Every year, nine million people visit the museum. Also, for eighty percent of those visitors, the Mona Lisa is the main draw, according to museum authorities. On exceptionally hectic days, 250,000 people stand in the line.

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The Louvre Gets a Renovation

mona lisa leonardo vinci
“Portrait of Mona Lisa del Giocondo”, circa 1503-1506, by Leonardo Da Vinci via Wikimedia Commons


Due to the painting’s popularity, additional efforts took place to enhance the viewing experience. This includes changing the tourist queueing system and repainting the gallery’s walls from eggshell yellow to midnight blue in 2019. “In this day and age, you have to have seen something that everyone is talking about at least once in your life, and the Mona Lisa is one of those ‘must sees'”, the curator said.


A proposed “Grand Louvre” makeover would include a new painting chamber beneath the museum, as well as a new entrance. Instead of entering through the glass pyramid, visitors would go straight to two underground rooms: one housing the Mona Lisa and the other housing temporary exhibitions. “The mood in the museum is now ripe”, said des Cars. “We have to embrace the painting’s status as a global icon, which is beyond our control”.


Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci, 1503,
Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci.


The anticipated cost of renovating the Louvre is €500 million. But the French economy has yielded worse-than-expected debt and deficit forecasts, resulting in President Emmanuel Macron’s government trying to reduce state spending by €25 billion in its next annual budget.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.