Mar 27
News
The Louvre rejected the French culture minister’s idea to send the Mona Lisa on a “grand tour.”

On March 1st, Françoise Nyssen, France’s culture minister, officially floated the possibility of sending Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece on a “grand tour,” in order to fight “cultural segregation.” Following the minister’s pronouncement, the Louvre’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez, met with Nyssen to explain how detrimental travel would be for the artwork. The Mona Lisa (1503) has not travelled since 1974, when a woman tried to spray-paint it red while it was on view at Tokyo’s National Museum. Since 2005, the painting has been in a specialized, temperature-controlled, bulletproof box, and experts warn that creating a similar enclosure suited for travel would be impossible. On top of that, a crack that runs through the artwork’s panel would rapidly expand when taken outside of its safe box. With some scientists warning that the crack could rupture the paint layers that comprise the Mona Lisa’s face, the museum has decided that it is best to keep the painting exactly where it is. Prior to the Louvre’s warning, Nyssen conversed with the mayor of Lens, a former mining town with a population of about 36,000 people, about sending the work there. Despite the Louvre’s pronouncement, Nyssen told The Art Newspaper that the idea is “still under consideration.”