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The Mona Lisa takes a summer holiday – and puts Rubens in the shade

19 July 2019

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

The Mona Lisa’s move this week from her usual spot in the Salle des États, which is undergoing renovations until October, is proving to be rather divisive. Leonardo’s most famous painting can now be found in the Galerie Médicis (Room 801), home to Rubens’s monumental cycle in praise of Marie de’ Medici.

The selfie–magnet’s move appears to have caused confusion among the single-minded hordes who visit the Louvre for one purpose and one purpose only. ‘If admiring the work easily was difficult before, [the visitor] must now overcome a thousand hardships to get close to it,’ the Spanish-language website Diario del Viajero opined; ‘It’s madness in here,’ a Louvre security guard told Le Parisien. Others provided photo evidence:

As if that weren’t enough, the masterpiece’s new positioning – in a bulletproof vitrine in front of The Disembarkation at Marseilles – has not pleased everyone. ‘We’re not going to lie – it looks a bit odd,’ says Artnet. Jesse M. Locker, professor of art history at Portland State University, reached some rather stronger conclusions:

And did nobody spare a thought for all the poor Rubens fans?

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