Could the Mona Lisa Get Her Own Gallery at Last?

Most people who go to the Louvre to see Mona Lisa’s famed flicker of a smile don’t always remember it that fondly. Leonardo’s portrait of Lisa del Giocondo generates unruly crowds of strangers from all over the world on a daily basis, all elbowing each other and blocking views to spend even less time with the painting than they would in a minute-long Yayoi Kusama “Infinity Room,” and come out with even more disenchanting documentation. Now that an external review of visitor experiences to the Louvre has determined that the Mona Lisa takes first place as both the “most disappointing viewing experience” and the “most underwhelming masterpiece,” the Louvre says it’s ready to finally give the Mona Lisa her own room.

The report was completed by the website CouponBirds, whose research team claims to have sifted through 18,000 visitor reviews of the Louvre online and found that 27.6% of them have negative mentions of the viewing experience for the Mona Lisa, while 37.1% of them had negative mentions of the painting itself. From keywords like “crowds” and “difficult” to personal accounts like “never been so disappointed” and straight-up “torture,” the scathing comments indicate that it’s long past time for the largest museum in the world to come up with a worthy solution.

Louvre Director Laurence des Cars has suggested that the museum is working on a plan to create a basement-level chamber for the languid lady, admitting in a statement to the Telegraph that “we don’t welcome visitors very well” in the painting’s current home, the Salle des États.

Des Cars explained that the new gallery would be so large that upon entry, the Mona Lisa, mounted along the back wall behind security glass, would “look like a postage stamp.” Perhaps that’s not so different from how she appears right now along the back of the midnight-blue Salle des États, surrounded by other under-appreciated paintings and across from Paolo Veronese’s enormous “The Wedding at Cana” (1562–1563).

The Louvre did not immediately respond to Hyperallergic‘s inquiries about the timeline, accessibility, and security for the room.

Few details are available about the plan at this time, but the Telegraph report indicates that Mona Lisa’s subterranean upgrade would be folded into the forthcoming renovation plan that would create a new entrance to the museum at the colonnade across from the church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois. The renovations hang in the air with an estimated €500 million (~$534 million) price tag that doesn’t exactly align with the Macron government’s massive public spending cuts for 2025.

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