Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (ca. 1503–19), the most popular attraction at the Louvre—which itself is consistently the world’s most visited museum—will be relocating for the summer. Though the painting will remain in its air-conditioned and bulletproof encasement, it will be moved on the evening of July 16th from the huge concrete wall on which it has hung for the last 14 years. It will be relocated into its summer home in the Louvre’s Medici Gallery, some “100 paces” away, as the museum’s director Jean-Luc Martinez told the AFP.
The reason for the move is to renovate the gallery in which Mona Lisa is typically displayed, whose walls will be repainted and lighting adjusted so as to better display large works by Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto. The Mona Lisa will return to its usual home a few weeks prior to the Louvre’s forthcoming blockbuster Leonardo exhibition, which marks the quincentennial of the Renaissance master’s death. In order to ensure visitors can see the Mona Lisa, technically it won’t be a part of the Leonardo exhibition; the show will require reservations, allowing roughly 5,000 visitors per day, whereas some 22,500 people visitors see the Mona Lisa every day.