Get up close with Mona Lisa at the Louvre

With coronavirus pandemic keeping visitors away, in Paris, the Louvre is offering time close-up with the “Mona Lisa” and a walk along the French museum’s historic rooftop at an auction to help plug a gaping hole in its finances. The Louvre received nearly 10 million visitors in 2019, but has been closed for more than five months this year during two coronavirus lockdowns. While it was open in the summer, numbers through the gate were down by as much as 75% during peak months.

The highest bidder at the auction will get the chance to witness the annual examination of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, normally only glimpsed over the heads of a crowd thronging the portrait.

Also among the two dozen lots going for auction is a bespoke timepiece by watch-maker Vacheron Constantin, an oil canvas painted in 1962 by Pierre Soulages and held in the artist’s private collection, and a walk along the rooftop of the 800-year-old Louvre palace with French street artist JR.

Yann Le Touher, who handles relations with the Louvre’s patrons said that The Louvre is suffering like all big museums around the world

The “Mona Lisa”, perhaps the world’s most famous painting, is taken down each year from the wall and removed from its glass case for a fleeting check. The work, from around 1503, is threatened by a crack.

Some world leaders are among a fortunate few who have in past decades witnessed the event.

Auctioneer Christie’s hopes the online auction will raise more than 1 million euros ($1.2 million), including an estimated 10,000-30,000 euros for the “Mona Lisa” experience.

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Source – Reuters