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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Mona Lisa gains new Louvre home
Mona Lisa
Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa between 1503 and 1506
The Mona Lisa has been unveiled in her new home within Paris' Louvre art gallery, four years after refurbishment work began.

Leonardo da Vinci's 500-year-old masterpiece now hangs alone on a wall in the museum's Salle des Etats.

It will give the millions of people who come to see the Mona Lisa every year a better view of the painting.

The Salle des Etats has had a 4.8m euro (3.29m) renovation to provide a suitable home for the masterpiece.

It will allow visitors more room to gaze in comfort on the Mona Lisa, which will be hung alone on a false wall in an area dedicated to 16th-century Italian paintings.

Bullet-proof

The painting, which measures just 53 by 76 centimeters (21 by 30 inches), is still hung behind non-reflective, unbreakable glass to protect it from climatic changes, camera flashes and wilful damage.

Before the renovation work, visitors had to crowd around the painting which was hung in a smaller space on a wall with other works of art.

The Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa now has its own wall in the Louvre

The painting - which is the most recognised in the world - is thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of an obscure Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo.

Cecile Scaillerez, Louvre curator in charge of 16th century Italian art, said: "The painting abolishes the distance between the model and the viewer by getting rid of a foreground, which created a barrier in pictures of the time.

"On the other hand, Lisa Gherardini isn't just looking at us, which wasn't usual in the portraits of the 15th and early 16th centuries in which people were often looking away far into the distance, but she is also smiling."

Last year, curators announced a scientific study of the Mona Lisa after the thin poplar wood panel around the painting began to show signs of warping.



SEE ALSO:
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