She’s one of many world’s most recognisable faces, with a smile that is been printed on mugs, luggage and T-shirts throughout the globe. However she’s solely left her nation a handful of instances, and has stayed in the identical room for 14 years.
We’re speaking about Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci’s Renaissance masterpiece that has been on show in the identical room since 2005.
However it’s being moved in a single day on Tuesday from its standard dwelling, the Salle des États within the Louvre in Paris to a different room in the identical museum. From Wednesday till October, it is going to be displayed within the Galerie Médicis, in order that the Salle des États will be renovated.
Though the portray is not going very far, shifting it’s nonetheless a fragile operation.
Why is Mona Lisa being moved?
The Louvre has been present process huge renovations for the previous 5 years. The museum says greater than 34,000 sq m (366,000 sq ft) has been renovated to this point, together with 17,579 sq m of gallery area.
It is presently the flip of the Salle des États.
Unsurprisingly, given its well-known resident, the Salle des États is the Louvre’s most-visited room – which implies that it is suffered a good bit of damage and tear within the 14 years since its final main refurbishment.
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Work on the room really started in January, however the renovators have to this point been capable of work round Mona Lisa. Now, they should perform work on the wall behind the portray.
One other portray in the identical room, Veronese’s Wedding ceremony Feast at Cana, goes to remain in a protecting case for all the time the renovations are carried out.
The Galerie Médicis, the place Mona Lisa is shifting, is without doubt one of the museum’s largest rooms.
Will it’s onerous to maneuver Mona Lisa?
The quick reply is “sure” – however the lengthy reply is, “not that a lot more durable than most artworks”.
Catriona Pearson, exhibitions supervisor on the College of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, tells BBC Information: “The danger would not change whatever the worth, we at all times transfer issues in the identical means – which is to say, very, very fastidiously!”
She explains that gallery staff attempt to restrict how a lot they transfer an art work, and hold the variety of folks dealing with it to a minimal if they will, as a result of “the extra motion it goes by, the upper the danger is”.
And though Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez instructed AFP that the Galerie Médicis was solely “100 paces” away from the Salle des États, there are nonetheless dangers.
Individuals pose one huge danger. That is why gallery staff attempt to organize these strikes for a time of day when there are fewer guests. The Louvre, for instance, selected to maneuver Mona Lisa within the night, after the museum had closed.
Then, the employees do a trial run with a chunk of wooden that’s roughly the identical measurement and form because the portray.
When shifting a portray inside a museum, Ms Pearson says, “you take a look at your route upfront, and maybe do a walk-through with whoever goes to be shifting the article”.
“That is one thing we do generally if it is a significantly massive portray, and we’re unsure if it’s going to match by all of the doorways and lifts,” she says.
“We’ll mock-up with plywood the form of the article and do a walk-through to verify, as a result of generally angles going round corners and issues are tighter than you’d count on. You possibly can measure them, however till you attempt to stroll the article spherical there, you are not going to seek out out.”
Should you’re shifting an art work overseas, Ms Pearson says, it’s kind of extra difficult.
“For shifting from one museum to a different, and from one nation to a different, there’s a complete new set of dangers,” she says. “It is advisable be sure that the article goes to be packed appropriately utilizing crates.”
You then have to resolve the way you need the article to be transported – by street or by air, for instance – primarily based on how fragile the art work is.
When the art work arrives, it must get used to its new surroundings – particularly if it is travelled abroad. So the art work might be left in its crate to acclimatise.
Altogether, this will take as much as a 12 months to plan for.
Has Mona Lisa ever been despatched overseas?
Sure, however solely a handful of instances in latest historical past.
The portray final left France in 1974, when it was loaned to Russia and to Japan.
Some 11 years earlier it was loaned to Washington DC’s Nationwide Gallery and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Artwork – often known as the Met – for 2 blockbuster exhibitions which have gone down in historical past for a way well-liked they had been.
In line with the Met, then-French tradition minister André Malraux was approached by First Woman Jackie Kennedy throughout an official journey to Washington in 1962, who requested him if the US might show Mona Lisa.
He was open to the concept, however many in France protested, arguing that the journey throughout the Atlantic might harm the art work.
Thankfully, when it made the journey the next 12 months, it survived – and noticed tens of hundreds of individuals queuing for hours in freezing chilly temperatures simply to catch a glimpse.
Again in 1911, the portray was stolen from the Louvre by Vincenzo Perugia, an Italian gallery employee who thought it needs to be taken again to Italy. It will definitely re-emerged in Florence two years later.
Maybe, some speculate, that is why the Louvre rejected a request from town of Florence for a mortgage of the work in 2013.