A proposed plan to take the mysterious painting of Leonardo da Vinci out of Parisian museums across France is set to face a roadblock. The most visited museum in Paris arrives at an estimate to loan out the Mona Lisa as part of the ‘Grand Tour’ of France. The Musée du Louvre has come up with an astronomical figure by taking into account transportation costs and probable revenue loss for the museum if 3 months loan goes ahead as planned to execute the initiative.
Recently, the Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen said that she was considering sending across Mona Lisa to a commune in Northern France, where Musée du Louvre’s branch Louvre-Lens resides. The ‘Grand Tour’ is part of a coordinated drive taken by the ministry to transport top works of art out of museums in Paris and around France. This initiative is proposed by the French ministry to stop cultural segregation felt in deprived zones of the country. Following Louvre’s estimates on loaning out Mona Lisa, the Minister of Culture of France is reconsidering whether to venture ahead with the proposal.
Other than the transport costs, there are many factors that go into the ‘Grand Tour’ including insurance cost for Mona Lisa and cost of covering Louvre’s treasure with protective glass. Since millions of people advance book tickets primarily to see the in-house artwork collections at Musée du Louvre, any cancellation of bookings may lead to revenue loss. Henceforth, the estimates of the museum also take that into account.
The Louvre Museum did an audit on this, which projected that loss in footfalls would reduce the revenue not just in terms of bookings but also in terms of average spending in the museum bookstores, restaurants, and shops. As of now, Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo statue are among the two most-visited artworks in private Louvre Museum tour, so one can understand why the National Museum is wary of loss in footfalls. While audited estimates seem circumspect on one hand from the part of Louvre Museum set in a former palace of French Kings, it definitely augurs well for fine art lovers to have booked a guided tour to see masterpieces on canvas.
Yet again, in a recent turn of events, Françoise Nyssen met Lens Commune Mayor Sylvain Robert. He is heading a campaign that favors exhibiting the masterpiece at Louvre-Lens temporarily for the natives there. So, the Cultural Ministry may still reconsider the proposal. Only time will tell.