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Art & Photography

Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass

The Musée du Louvre
October 24, 2019 to February 24, 2020

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Image: Leonardo da Vinci, Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as the Mona Lisa (the Joconde in French), Paris, Musée du Louvre © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre)/ Michel Urtado

Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass is the first virtual reality (VR) experience presented by Musée du Louvre. On view from October 24, 2019 to February 24, 2020 in the Napoléon Hall, this VR experience is an integral component of the museum’s landmark Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, which commemorates the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death in France. An extended home version of the VR experience is now available for download through VIVEPORT and other VR platforms, including mobile VR on iOS and Android, for audiences across the globe. 

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Seen by more than 20,000 people each day, the Mona Lisa is kept permanently in protective casing due to its fragility, at the Louvre’s Salle des États. Through VR, the Louvre is now able to feature this world’s best-known painting in its retrospective of da Vinci’s work, while offering visitors a chance to have a heightened personal encounter with the artwork as was never before possible. Alone with the masterpiece in the virtual space, the visitor can see the vivid details of this celebrated oil painting, including the texture of the wood panel seen through the paint layer, and the marks where the panel once cracked and was masterfully restored.

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The virtual reality experience combines moving image, sound and interactive design to create a deeply engaging way to immerse visitors in the world of da Vinci’s as well as bringing to life decades of conservation research and data, including infrared scans. Transporting the viewer through time, the experience unveils insights into how the artwork was originally created, how it might have looked in the past, and how it has changed over 500 years due to exposure to light and humidity. The narrative component of the experience dispels some of the many myths about the famous Mona Lisa by revealing more about her identity, providing additional details about how her appearance indicates her social status.

Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass has been created in close collaboration with the Louvre’s curatorial team, as part of the Louvre’s mission to find new ways to reach audiences both inside and outside of its walls. Inside the museum, the VR experience is intended to complement and enhance visitors’ engagement with da Vinci and the masterpieces that are on display through creative storytelling that reveals more than the eye can see. In addition to the content available in the exhibition version, the home version provides global audiences with an opportunity to experience a virtual visit to the Louvre Museum, entering through the iconic Pyramid before visiting the Grand Galerie and seeing all of the da Vinci paintings in the Louvre’s permanent collection.

This remarkable virtual reality experience is made possible by Musée du Louvre and HTC VIVE Arts in partnership, and produced by leading VR studio Emissive. Online reservation is required for the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, and on-site reservation is required for the VR experience. 


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