On Monday 12th Mar, 2018

After 44 years at the Louvre, Mona Lisa could be on the move

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Travel at 60

Seeing Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile is a rite of passage for the hordes of tourists that descend upon Paris. People squash together like sardines just to catch a glimpse through bullet-proof glass of what is often called Da Vinci's finest masterpiece.

The Mona Lisa was installed in the Louvre in 1804 and has only been outside the building a handful of times since - one of these being when the prized painting was stolen by a staff member in 1911. (It was recovered two years later when the one-time employee tried to sell it to an art dealer.)

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The plan for a Mona Lisa tour was revealed during an interview with French culture minister Françoise Nyssen on radio station Europe 1. In the interview, Nyssen revealed that she was in talks with Louvre President Jean-Luc Martinez about adding the Mona Lisa to an upcoming exhibition of France's greatest masterpieces that is due to tour France.

Nyssen also said she thought works of tremendous cultural significance shouldn't be confined to a single place. 

"My priority is to work against cultural segregation, and a large-scale plan for moving [artworks] around is a main way of doing that," Nyssen said.

Asked if she was worried about the artwork's preservation, Nyssen cited the example set by French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently suggested loaning Britain the delicate thousand-year-old Bayeux tapestry in 2022 while renovations take place at the French museum currently holding it.

Talk of the painting's inclusion has many art fans and travellers excited, expecialy the possiblity of seeing the masterpiece in a less crowded setting.

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One of the main complaints about the Louvre's Mona Lisa display is the lack of room for visitors, leaving many disappointed by the viewing experience. So far, there has been no talk of letting the painting tour outside the country, so travellers will still have to travel to France if they want to catch a glimpse of the woman also known as La Gioconda.

More than eight million people visited the Louvre in 2017, many of them tourists keen to captivated by the smile of Da Vinci's most popular subject.

Have you seen the Mona Lisa at the Louvre? Was it an enjoyable experience or too crowded?

Travel at 60
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