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The Mona Lisa Temporarily on Display in the Galerie Médicis

Renovation

Posted on 3 July 2019

To ensure the smooth progress of renovations in the Salle des États and maintain optimal visiting conditions, the Musée du Louvre has decided to temporarily transfer the Mona Lisa to the Galerie Médicis (room 801, level 2, Richelieu wing). The painting will remain there from July 17 until work in the Salle des États is completed at the beginning of October 2019.

Why is the Salle des États (or Mona Lisa room) being renovated?

The “Grand Louvre” project and the Pyramid were completed 30 years ago. Since then, museum attendance has surged to unprecedented levels, with visitor numbers more than doubling. Major renovations are once again required in order to:

  • Improve reception of the growing number of increasingly international visitors
  • Bring the Louvre in line with new security, accessibility, and conservation standards
  • Refurbish spaces whose overall condition has deteriorated over time
  • Upgrade the working conditions of Louvre staff

Fourteen years after its complete refurbishment (2001–2005), the Salle des États—the Mona Lisa’s customary home and the museum’s most visited room—is currently undergoing a new round of renovations.

Why is the Mona Lisa being moved?

In order to carry out renovations in the Salle des États in a timely manner while ensuring optimal visiting conditions, the Mona Lisa will be temporarily relocated. The painting will return to the Salle des États in October 2019.

One of the Louvre’s largest rooms, the Galerie Médicis is a suitable location for the Mona Lisa as it can accommodate the tens of thousands of visitors who come to see it every day. The painting will be displayed on a temporary wall, inside a temperature-controlled protective case like the one in which it is usually presented in the Salle des États.

The Mona Lisa is a particularly fragile work and can no longer travel outside the Louvre. Even within the Louvre, the work is moved only on rare occasions: it was transferred to the Grande Galerie between 1992 and 1995 to accommodate changes to museum spaces, and to the Salle Rosa between 2001 and 2005, during the previous renovation campaign of the Salle des États.

Due to its exceptional drawing power—it is estimated that 70% of all Louvre visitors wish to see the work—the Mona Lisa must be displayed in a space that can accommodate large numbers of people. The work will not feature in the “Leonardo da Vinci” exhibition (October 24, 2019–February 24, 2020), as the majority of visitors would be denied the pleasure of admiring the work due to the Hall Napoléon’s limited size.

How do I get to the Galerie Médicis (room 801)?

Once under the Pyramid, proceed to the Richelieu wing entrance. After the ticket controls, turn right and take the escalator to the top floor (level 2). Enter the Paintings collection rooms and continue to room 801 on your right.

illustration
La Joconde, provisoirement dans la Galerie Medicis

Pourquoi déplacer La Joconde ? 

Afin de mener à bien la rénovation de la salle des Etats dans les temps et accueillir le mieux possible les visiteurs, La Joconde sera déplacée de manière temporaire. Elle reviendra dans la salle des Etats en octobre 2019. 

La Galerie Médicis est l’une des plus vastes du Louvre, et peut donc accueillir La Joconde et ses dizaines de milliers de visiteurs journaliers. Le tableau sera exposé sur une cimaise dans une vitrine climatisée et sécurisée, comme celle dans laquelle elle est présentée habituellement salle des Etats. 

La Joconde est une œuvre particulièrement fragile qui ne peut plus voyager hors du Louvre. Au sein même du Louvre, elle n’est déplacée que de façon exceptionnelle : dans la Grande Galerie entre 1992 et 1995 pour des raisons muséographiques et dans la salle Rosa entre 2001 et 2005 lors de la précédente rénovation de la salle des Etats. 

La Joconde, par son fort pouvoir d’attraction (on estime que 70% des visiteurs qui viennent au Louvre souhaitent voir La Joconde) doit être exposée dans un espace pouvant accueillir un large nombre de visiteurs. Il n’est pas envisageable de la présenter au sein de l’exposition « Leonard de Vinci » (24 octobre 2019 – 24 février 2020) car le Hall Napoléon, un espace trop contraint, aurait privé une majorité d’entre eux du plaisir de l’admirer. 

Comment se rendre à la Galerie Médicis (salle 801) ?

Une fois sous la Pyramide, prendre l'entrée Richelieu. Après les contrôles, tourner à droite et prendre les escalators jusqu'au dernier étage, puis entrer dans les salles des peintures pour se rendre dans la salle 801 qui se trouve sur la droite.

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