For three nights only, Louvre extends blockbuster da Vinci exhibition to an all-night affair

For three nights only, Louvre extends blockbuster da Vinci exhibition to an all-night affair
The Louvre at night, when 30,000 lucky guests will get to see the museum's da Vinci exhibition. Courtesy Flickr Commons.
Must see  -   Exhibitions

Who hasn’t stayed up until midnight to see the premier of a long-anticipated movie? Well, get your coffees ready as the Louvre will be adding tickets to see its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition but the catch: the tickets are to see the famed artist’s works at night. From 9pm through 8:30am on the final three nights of the da Vinci exhibition, 30,000 lucky people will get the unique experience of the exhibition in the wee hours of the night and for free.

The exhibition’s unusual extension – tickets for normal hours sold out weeks ago – was announced by Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the Paris institution, in Le Journal du Dimanche, a French news source. ‘For visitors,’ said Martinez, ‘this is a unique opportunity to view or review so many works gathered from this genius of the Renaissance in such a special atmosphere.’ The special opening hours mark the first time that the museum has been opened up to an on slot of ticket-holders at such hours; last May, one couple won a night’s stay inside the Louvre through a competition offered by the Louvre in partnership with Airbnb.

Tickets go live tomorrow at noon Central European Standard Time (just in time to become great Valentine’s Day present, everyone!). Each ticket will be time stamped allowing entry into the museum at specific times throughout the night of the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd of February. As stated, the tickets will be free, available on the museum’s ticketing portal, and sure to go quickly.

‘This event is the Louvre’s way of thanking the public for their interest in the exhibition,’ read the museum’s press release for the event. ‘If you have not yet managed to see it, or if you loved it so much that you would like to come again, now is the final chance.’ To make the evenings possible, around 40 of the museum’s staff have volunteered to man the museum.

The exhibition, which has been the source of flared tensions between France and Italy regarding the loans of monumental works by da Vinci, celebrates the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. Featuring more than 150 artworks by the Old Master, including 80 drawings and nine paintings, works by Andrea del Verrocchio, da Vinci’s teacher, and Marco d’Oggiono and Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, two of da Vinci’s followers, the exhibition is a must-see.

The addition of more tickets is an exciting prospect for visitors and an interesting move on the museum’s behalf as recent months have held more staff strikes sometimes resulting in the closure of the museum. In May of last year, the Louvre announced record attendance in 2018, the museum was shuttered when front of house staff and security personnel went on strike due to overwhelming attendance. More recently, the museum was forced to make similar decisions when staff went on strike in January leaving hundreds of visitors waiting in line to see the museum and the da Vinci exhibition.