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Lonely Mona Lisa
News Bytes 02/23/2021 73 Comments

It’s uncertain when Paris’ Louvre Museum will reopen. It closed October 30, 2020, because of the French government’s virus containment measures. Those who are allowed in receive a rare private look at collections covering thousands of years of human history—with plenty of space to breathe.

Space is normally sorely lacking at the world’s most-visited museum. Before the pandemic, staff walked out. They claimed they couldn’t handle the overcrowding, with up to 30,000-40,000 visitors per day. In some ways, the Louvre has been hurt by its own success.

The Mona Lisa’s celebrated smile is 518 years old. She stares out through bulletproof glass into a silent hall in the Louvre. A bit further on, the white marble Venus de Milo stands alone. She is completely free from picture-snapping visitors. These artistic treasures have seen many things, but they’ve rarely observed this: almost four months with no visitors.

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

Unlike during the first lockdown, which brought all Louvre activities to a halt, the second has kept 250 museum staff members fully employed with restorative operations.

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

“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,” says Laurent le Guedart, the Louvre’s Architectural Heritage and Gardens Director.

Restorers stand atop scaffolds to take scientific probes of the walls in preparation for a planned restoration. The probes will travel back to the 18th century through layer after layer of paint.

Around the corner, carpenters take up floorboards to run cables for a new security system.

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

In total, 10 large-scale projects that had been on hold since last March are under way—and progressing quickly. These include works in the Etruscan and Italian Halls and the gilded Salon Carre. A major restoration of the ancient Egyptian chapel of the tomb of Akhethotep from 2,400 B.C. 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,” says 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 measures. Those who don’t want to wait may still view the Louvre’s art treasure trove in virtual tours online.

(Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa hangs on the wall in a deserted Louvre museum in Paris, France, on Thursday, February 11, 2021. AP/Thibault Camus)

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Most recent comments

1st comment

I just have to say this : THAT MONA LISA IS SMALL. It’s tiny! I mean I thought it was much bigger. I haven’t even read the article yet. I just had that about the size!

Ok ok I’ve read it. The day

Ok ok I’ve read it. The day they closed is my birthday!
And I’m so glad they are taking advantage of the closure to renovate. A school near my house started doing a few things when the kids came back, not when it was closed, strangely enough. And they had it planned for a year or more...

3rd comment

You know, I had always heard the Mona Lisa was famous, blah blah blah, stuff like that, but then when I saw a picture of it, I was not really impressed! Yeah it is kinda small! But I am glad they are making use of the time.

@Riley D

Ya, exactly what does make this picture so famous, is it her smile, the artist himself, or just the painting.

I've always wanted to visit

I've always wanted to visit the Louvre. It would be really cool, and not just the Mona Lisa. @ Mirela It's probably bigger but the camera was far away. I'm fairly certain it's a good size. @ Noah I think it's the first two things you listed, the artist and her smile.

also, why does nobody ever

also, why does nobody ever spell my name right? LOL

This is London

I want to vist that museum! I did think Mona Lisa was a little bigger lol. I think it’s famous for the. Technique or how old it is and Leonardo

@ Noah

I think that having been painted by Leonardo Da Vinci and her mysterious smile is what makes her famous.

this is mylee

Huh Micah D what o you mean that we don't spell your name right. I think this is sad how places are closed and nobody can visit. The Mona Lisa is bigger it just has a big protection screen. The picture is kinda boring but i think it meant a lot to him. *Mysterious *

@ Micah

Ok yeah it might just be the distance it is away from the camera. Your not the only one who gets their name spelt wrong a lot! Not on WorldTEEN for me though. When I was at school, all the teachers spelt my name Mirella instead of Mirela lol.

Wow. I seem to have this

Wow. I seem to have this power to comment at the exact same minute as others!! @ Mylee we commented at the same time lol

this is mylee

Mirela XD LOL !

@Micah

Yeah I have had people spell my name Rylee, and even Raylee! XD And my sisters have their names pronounced wrong too! It can kinda get annoying for them, but mine is pretty easy!

@Riley D

I know! My last name gets spelled wrong so many times! I think I've seen it spelled 5 different ways spelled and none the right way. lol
People always think my name is Laura instead of Nora too.

this is mylee

ikr Riley since our names are close. ppl will think its Miley or myley or Milee or mylie so ya LoL

Names

My last name *cringe* no one can pronounce it MUCH LESS spell it! xDD

This is London

I never get my name spelled/pronounced wrong lol XD

@ Nora

My last name gets pronounced wrong a lot too, though if people were smart, they would be able to figure it out because it is phanetically correct.

@Micah

My last name gets pronounced wrong all the time

this is mylee

Not our last name XD ! Nobody spells it wrong if i told yall would probally laugh ! XD But i won't cause no personal info.

21 comment

The lonely Mona Lisa moans.,,maybe because no one can look at her, or maybe because. Or maybe she is happy.

.

Micha: (,Oh look, there I go again!) It's because I keep think it's MY-ka! Sorry! I'm trying harder because I know I'm not spelling it right. And usually C goes after H when they are both in the same word, MICAH.
My name gets mispronounced and misspelled a lot. They call me Bethany, Beth...oh! Someone even called me Grace!

@Bethy s

I have spell check so when I spell Micah it sometimes spells it wrong

@ London

Huh, I have spell check too and it doesn't recognize either word as wrong.

This is London

Well idk of its spell check it likes change the word sometimes when I right it

Lol usually people spell my

Lol usually people spell my name Chole instead of Chloe

:)

People call me Addison all the time when they first meet me. And no one can ever remember how to say my brother's name. XD Also, people sometimes mispronounce our last name, but that's just because the last letter is a weak consonant, so they don't often hear it. @London and Mylee- I think I can guess what your last name is... ;)

@Addie

Take a guess ? I won’t say the answer tho

@Everyone

Anyone else get their magazine today. We did

Wow!

Wow, finally a big place that isn't being hurt by the pandemic! I wonder how surprised people will be when it reopens!

@London

I guess Smith. :)

@Everyone

As for name misspellings, OMG I FEEL THE PAIN. My last name is a French word and people who have known our family for YEARS (though they aren't close to us) even SAY our name wrong!!! Lol, however, it is partially our last name's fault because it has a funny punctuation that helps people pronounce it in correctly. XD it is kinda funny. It actually is SAID wrong more than Spelled wrong, but it is misspelled sometimes.

Mona Lisa

Its so cool that they are taking advantage of the time they have to fix the place up!

Name Misspellings

My last name is misspelled half the time XDDDDDD

@London

I was going to guess Smith as well! XD No I haven't gotten my magazine yet.
@NA: Is you last name not necessarily English? Like do some of your grandparents come from a different country so then it is hard to pronounce?
@Jack E: I know a Jack E that lives in a close town, and his last name is hard to spell! I am actually Pen Pal's with his sister and I would always look at her return address to make sure I had spelled the last name right! But now I know it! :)

@Addie @Riley

XD no. Tho smith/smithy is like a rly common last name.

@ London

We got our magazine yesterday, too.

I still havn't got my

I still havn't got my magazine...

I havent gotten my magazine

I havent gotten my magazine yet

I get my name pronounced the

I get my name pronounced the way it is spelled (its meant to sound like this FRONZ)and sometimes they spell it with an S and People alomost always spell our last name wrong (its a German word). LOL

@ Riley

Haha, yeah, my dad is from Argentina so it's Spanish xD And no one can pronounce my brother (Massimo) name so they make their own variation and he just goes with it LOL XDD

@ Sarah F

I know! If people literally took two seconds to look or think about how to spell it they would get it right, because it's not hard at all! DX ( apparently people rely on spell check to much ) Though I do find it plenty helpful sometimes. lol

My name gets spelled and

My name gets spelled and pronounced wrong all the time! I don't make a big deal about it though... I'm kind of shy.

@ Kiara

Funny, because I think (your first name anyway) is sort of obvious...

No magazine...:(

The magazine arrives really late but we got the just WORLD magazine a couple day ago,

@Franz R

Oh cool! Are you German? Or your ancestors German? I am learning German right now, but it is so hard when you have no one to speak it too That is why it is best just to go to the country and just speak with the people!

@ Riley

I know you weren't asking me but...I took German for a little bit too, until I dropped it...:}. I have a lot of German ancestry, but I have more Dutch, since my Grandma was full Dutch.

Magazine

My magazine came today!

@Riley D my grandma was a

@Riley D my grandma was a German and her husband was part jew see https://teen.wng.org/node/6687

its one of the last comments

its one of the last comments

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