Louvre reinstalls the Mona Lisa in the updated Salle des États

Louvre reinstalls the Mona Lisa in the updated Salle des États
The Salle des États prior to it remodel. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
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Extreme makeover Louvre Edition is offically complete and the Mona Lisa is back in her home gallery after a three-month stint in a neighbouring gallery.

When the Mona Lisa moved to the Medici Gallery back in July, it was the first time the painting had moved from its place in the Salle des États in over a decade. However, its relocation was necessary to give its usual gallery a new look. Prior to the changes, the Salle des États’ large walls were painted in a yellow hue that felt a bit menacing when coupled with the large, plain, wall reserved for da Vinci’s best-known painting. Now, those walls have been coated in a deep midnight blue that not only compliments the Mona Lisa but other paintings by Venetian Masters that hang in the gallery including works by Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto. On Sunday night, da Vinci’s famous painting journeyed the 100-odd feet back to the Salle des États, which, as of today, is once again open to visitors.


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. 🇫🇷 La Joconde vous souhaite une #BonneSemaine ! – ✨ Le chef-d’œuvre de Léonard de Vinci retrouve sa place face au plus grand tableau du Louvre, les Noces de Cana de Véronèse, et aux côtés des tableaux des grands maîtres vénitiens du XVIè siècle. – 🔎 Après 10 mois de rénovation, dont 4 mois de fermeture au public, la salle des États, qui abrite la Joconde, rouvre ses portes aujourd’hui ! – 👉🏻 Faites glisser pour voir le résultat ! 👉🏻 – – – – 🌎 The Mona Lisa wishes you a #GoodWeek! – ✨ Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece thus returns to its rightful place opposite the Louvre’s largest painting, The Wedding Feast at Cana, and alongside the work of the great Venetian masters from the 16th century. – 🔎 After 10 months of renovations, during 4 of which it remained closed to the public, the Salle des États is reopening today! – 👉🏻 Swipe left to see the result! 👉🏻 – 📷 © RMN – Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Michel Urtado 📷 © Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin . . . #MuséeDuLouvre #LouvreMuseum #Louvre

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In addition to new wall colours, the gallery now houses an updated vitrine for the Mona Lisa to give visitors a better view of the painting. The Louvre has also announced a new plan for viewing the painting in the hopes of organizing the masses it draws in annually. Traditionally, it’s been chaotic to see the painting between the hordes of phones raised to take a photo and the crowds, so your chances of seeing it up close and personally were slim. With the gallery’s reopening, though, the museum has implemented two, single-file lines to get visitors in, up close (on average visitors spend 50 seconds looking at the work), and out of the way for more spectators. ‘There will be two serpentine lines that will allow the audience to get as close as possible to the work, and for everyone to have a special moment with the Mona Lisa,’ said a member of Louvre staff according to Europe 1.

The choice to revamp how visitors experience the Mona Lisa should also be a welcome change after the difficulty visitors felt while the painting was in the Medici Gallery. During that time, the wait time to see da Vinci’s work grew exponentially as people were bottlenecked in and out of the gallery. According to artNet News, Corinne Menegaux, general director of Paris’ tourism office, said that there had been a ‘real lack of foresight’ in regards to the placement of the Mona Lisa during its staycation.

Hopefully, the new procedures in seeing the Mona Lisa will help alleviate crowds and frustration as the institution prepares for its blockbuster exhibition of works by da Vinci set to open on October 24th. Entitled ‘Leonardo da Vinci,’ the exhibition will bring together the largest number of works by the Renaissance Master in celebration of the 500th anniversary since his death. The exhibition, which caused sparks to fly between France and Italy, is expected to drive up Louvre attendance, which is already at record highs. Last year, the museum welcomed more than 10 million guests, but its staff have since felt the strain of so many visitors resulting in a staff walk out in May.

In further anticipation of large crowds, the institution is planning to install a new ticketing process later this month. The new plan will introduce timed tickets that allow for ‘a better flow of visitors and is key to a more comfortable visit,’ said Louvre officials in the Art Newspaper. Details of the new ticketing policy have yet to be released but when tickets went on sale for ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ in June, within the first day and a half, more than 33,000 advanced tickets were bought.