Workers handle a bust of Charles Le Brun by French sculptor Antoine Coysevox, in the Louvre museum, in Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. It's uncertain when the Louvre will reopen, after being closed on Oct. 30 in line with the French government's virus containment measures. But those lucky enough to get in benefit from a rarified private look of collections covering 9,000 years of human history -- with plenty of space to breathe. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)(AP)
Workers handle a bust of Charles Le Brun by French sculptor Antoine Coysevox, in the Louvre museum, in Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. It's uncertain when the Louvre will reopen, after being closed on Oct. 30 in line with the French government's virus containment measures. But those lucky enough to get in benefit from a rarified private look of collections covering 9,000 years of human history -- with plenty of space to breathe. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)(AP)

With no visitors, Louvre in Paris gets rare chance to refurbish

The forced closure has also granted museum officials a golden opportunity to carry out long-overdue refurbishments that were simply not possible with nearly 10 million visitors a year.
AP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 21, 2021 06:08 PM IST

The 518-year-old Mona Lisa has seen many things in her life on a wall, but rarely this: Almost four months with no Louvre visitors.

As she stares out through bulletproof glass into the silent Salle des Etats, in what was once the world's most-visited museum, her celebrated smile could almost denote relief. A bit further on, the white marble Venus de Milo is for once free of her girdle of picture-snapping visitors.

The sculpture The Victory of Samothrace is seen in a deserted Louvre museum, in Paris.(AP)
The sculpture The Victory of Samothrace is seen in a deserted Louvre museum, in Paris.(AP)

It’s uncertain when the Paris museum will reopen, after being closed on October 30 in line with the French government’s virus containment measures. But those lucky enough to get in benefit from a rare private look at collections covering 9,000 years of human history -- with plenty of space to breathe.

That's normally sorely lacking in a museum that's blighted by its own success: Before the pandemic, staff walked out complaining they couldn't handle the overcrowding, with up to 30,000-40,000 visitors a day.

Leonardo da Vincis Mona Lisa hangs on the wall in a deserted Louvre museum, in Paris.(AP)
Leonardo da Vincis Mona Lisa hangs on the wall in a deserted Louvre museum, in Paris.(AP)

The forced closure has also granted museum officials a golden opportunity to carry out long-overdue refurbishments that were simply not possible with nearly 10 million visitors a year.

Unlike the first lockdown, which brought all Louvre activities to a halt, the second has seen some 250 of the museum employees remain fully operational.

An army of curators, restorers and workers are cleaning sculptures, reordering artifacts, checking inventories, reorganizing entrances and conducting restorations, including in the Egyptian Wing and the Grande Galerie, the museum’s largest hall that is being fully renovated.

Workers at the Louvre museum transport a painting called Christ on the Cross Adored by Two Donors by Spanish painter El Greco.(AP)
Workers at the Louvre museum transport a painting called Christ on the Cross Adored by Two Donors by Spanish painter El Greco.(AP)

“We’re taking advantage of the museum’s closure to carry out a number of major works, speed up maintenance operations and start repair works that are difficult to schedule when the museum is operating normally,” Laurent le Guedart, the Louvre’s Architectural Heritage and Gardens Director told AP from inside the Grande Galerie.

As le Guedart spoke, restorers were standing atop scaffolds taking scientific probes of the walls in preparation for a planned restoration, travelling back to the 18th century through layer after layer of paint.

Workers at the Louvre museum set up a scaffolding in Paris.(AP)
Workers at the Louvre museum set up a scaffolding in Paris.(AP)

Around the corner the sound of carpenters taking up floorboards was faintly audible. They were putting in the cables for a new security system.

Previously, these jobs could only be done on a Tuesday, the Louvre's only closed day in the week. Now hammers are tapping, machines drilling and brushes scrubbing to a full week schedule, slowed down only slightly by social distancing measures.

In total, ten large-scale projects that were on hold since last March are under way — and progressing fast.

This includes works in the Etruscan and Italian Halls, and the gilded Salon Carre. A major restoration of the ancient Egyptian tomb chapel of Akhethotep from 2400BC is also underway.

“When the museum reopens, everything will be perfect for its visitors — this Sleeping Beauty will have had the time to powder her nose,” said Elisabeth Antoine-Konig, Artifacts Department Curator. “Visitors will be happy to see again these now well-lit rooms with polished floors and remodeled display cases.”

Initially, only visitors with pre-booked reservations will be granted entry in line with virus safety precautions.

Those who cannot wait are still able to see the Louvre's treasure trove of art in virtual tours online.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close
Shared before International Women's Day 2021, the ad film on infertility has now tugging at people's heartstrings.(YouTube/@Prega News)
Shared before International Women's Day 2021, the ad film on infertility has now tugging at people's heartstrings.(YouTube/@Prega News)

Ad with a message about infertility featuring Mona Singh goes viral

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 12:50 PM IST
Shared ahead of International Women's Day 2021, the short ad film featuring Mona Singh has now gathered nearly 1.9 million views - and counting.
Close
The image shows the dog named Mya.(Screengrab)
The image shows the dog named Mya.(Screengrab)

Video of dog learning to ‘sing’ Star Wars theme song wows The Mandalorian actor

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:47 AM IST
Ming-Na Wen, playing the role of Fennec Shand in Star Wars franchise’s live-action series The Mandalorian, re-shared the video on her Twitter profile.
Close
The image was taken by Parker Solar Probe.(Instagram/@nasa)
The image was taken by Parker Solar Probe.(Instagram/@nasa)

NASA shares incredible pic of our neighbouring planet. Can you guess which one?

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:19 AM IST
“How incredible,” wrote an Instagram user while commenting on the post.
Close
The image shows the car in which the dog was stuck.(Facebook/@frnsw )
The image shows the car in which the dog was stuck.(Facebook/@frnsw )

Dog travels 30 minutes stuck in engine of speeding car, rescued

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 10:15 AM IST
“A great ending for Diesel [the dog] a round of applause for all concerned,” wrote a Facebook user while commenting.
Close
The image shows the doughnut box.(Reddit/pics)
The image shows the doughnut box.(Reddit/pics)

Man attaches resume in doughnut box to send employer, netizens have questions

By Srimoyee Chowdhury
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 02:03 AM IST
While some found the tactic really clever, others found the attempt to be kind of over the top.
Close
The image shows the woman holding a note.(Reddit/aww)
The image shows the woman holding a note.(Reddit/aww)

Video shows woman getting the best furry surprise ever. It may melt your heart

By Srimoyee Chowdhury
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 01:37 AM IST
The ending of the clip may leave you saying aww repeatedly.
Close
The results of the Punjab State Dear 100 monthly lottery were announced in a draw on February 11. (representative image)(Pixabay)
The results of the Punjab State Dear 100 monthly lottery were announced in a draw on February 11. (representative image)(Pixabay)

Housewife bags 1 crore in lottery from mere 100 ticket in Punjab

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 12:08 AM IST
The lucky winner, Renu Chauhan, on Thursday submitted the ticket and required documents to the State Lotteries Department for encashment of her prize.
Close
The clip features Dosani along with her mother Mona and her friend Bunny.(Instagram/@ruheedosani)
The clip features Dosani along with her mother Mona and her friend Bunny.(Instagram/@ruheedosani)

Ruhee Dosani’s happy dance to popular jingle Honey Bunny may make you smile

By Srimoyee Chowdhury
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 11:36 PM IST
The trio can be seen dancing to the popular jingle Hello Honey Bunny composed by Amit Trivedi.
Close
The image shows Yashraj Mukhate.(Instagram/@officialhumansofbombay)
The image shows Yashraj Mukhate.(Instagram/@officialhumansofbombay)

Meet Yashraj Mukhate who solved the Rasoda mystery and created the pawri anthem

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:46 PM IST
“Dreams do come true. You’re an inspiration,” commented an Instagram user.
Close
The image shows sparkling Necklace Nebula.(Instagram/@nasahubble)
The image shows sparkling Necklace Nebula.(Instagram/@nasahubble)

NASA posts incredible pic of Necklace Nebula. Guess how far is it from Earth?

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 06:42 PM IST
The breathtaking picture of Necklace Nebula has prompted people to share all sorts of comments.
Close
The video has now left people chuckling hard.(Screegrab)
The video has now left people chuckling hard.(Screegrab)

'Mission cookie': Kid scales fridge to get snack, video is hilariously adorable

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 06:02 PM IST
“Yasss. And her celebration at the end,” wrote an Instagram user while commenting on the video.
Close
The image shows a rescued seal on backseat of a police car.(Twitter/@ChtownPolice)
The image shows a rescued seal on backseat of a police car.(Twitter/@ChtownPolice)

Seal travels down sidewalk. Police rescues it, gives a ride back to shore

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:55 PM IST
A woman spotted the seal near her home in Charlottetown, Canada, and informed the police.
Close
The image shows the officials with rescued bear.(ANI)
The image shows the officials with rescued bear.(ANI)

Wild bear rescued from abandoned pit by forest department officials in Odisha

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:57 PM IST
The ten-hour long operation by a team of forest officials started in the morning and ended in the evening.
Close
The image shows the 'office rant' viral video creator Harjas Sethi.(Instagram/@vellijanani)
The image shows the 'office rant' viral video creator Harjas Sethi.(Instagram/@vellijanani)

Her rant about offices reopening went viral. Here’s what she’ll miss the most

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 02:36 PM IST
“Those were my honest feelings about the email that I received from my employer," Harjas Sethi told HT about what prompted her to create the video.
Close
The image shows gorilla mother-son duo named Calaya and Moke.(Instagram/@smithsonianzoo)
The image shows gorilla mother-son duo named Calaya and Moke.(Instagram/@smithsonianzoo)

‘That is what gorilla laughter sounds like’: Zoo posts clip of animals wrestling

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:40 PM IST
The adorable video has now won people over.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP