‘Mona Lisa’ back in place

Visitors take pictures in front of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ after the famous masterpiece was returned to its place at the Louvre Museum in Paris
Visitors take pictures in front of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ after the famous masterpiece was returned to its place at the Louvre Museum in Paris
Image: ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP

Securing a brief encounter with Paris’s most famous lady has never been an easy affair.

But now visitors will wait less and be able to squeeze a few seconds of one-to-one face time with that enigmatic smile.

That, at least, is the claim of the Louvre Museum.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa returned to its rightful place in the museum’s Salle des États on Monday after a 10month spring-clean.

In the first such overhaul in 15 years, the world’s most visited painting now gazes out through a new glass cover which enhances transparency thanks to the latest antireflective technology.

The wall behind the frame has also changed colour from yellow to midnight blue.

Meanwhile, a new queuing system promises shorter waiting times and a more intimate experience with the celebrated oil-on-poplar painting.

Despite the hordes of tourists, the wait on Monday was refreshingly short for those wishing to stand directly in front of the mysterious maiden.

But, given the sea of selfies, intimacy was hardly the word that sprang to mind.

“I only had to queue for 10 minutes. I’ve already been in the Louvre for two hours, so 10 minutes for the Mona Lisa isn’t much,” Alek Radomski, 32, from Poland, said.

“But I’m shocked at people’s attitude because most don’t look at the picture, they take pictures.”

Within 30 seconds or so, a guard waved him on.

The Louvre confessed that previous queue management had created congestion.

“Only the tallest or most persevering managed to get to the painting,” it admitted.

The world’s most visited museum attracts 10.2-million people a year.

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