Leonardo’s Mona Lisa is temporarily leaving its iconic home in the Salle d’Etats to move to the Galerie Médicis, one of the largest in the Musée du Louvre, while staff renovate the room. The Salle d’Etats, opened to the public 15 years ago, is the most visited space in the museum with eight million visitors a year, over 70% of whom come specifically to see Mona Lisa. The room’s “restyling” is in fact a renovation, begun last January and which will conclude in October.
Having designed the masterpiece’s first display case, Goppion won an international competition to produce its temporary case, a high-quality display system similar to the original. Now, fourteen years after their original commission, the Italian company has taken up the new challenge to protect this icon of world heritage, designing a high-tech display case developed through constant research in the worlds of technology and conservation.
In agreement with the Louvre’s management, the temporary case is made entirely of glass in order to allow for the painting to be seen clearly and vaunts exceptional safety features in terms of both the materials used (special glass) and its highly sensitive devices, capable of registering if anyone comes too close to the work.
The display case is equipped with a special lighting system, a new generation of spotlights fitted with zoom capabilities and profile spotlights that can be controlled by smartphones/tablets to stabilize and modify the temperature, color and intensity of the light.
The system for monitoring the relative humidity, a factor that can harm the integrity of the work, is “excessive” and works thanks to a double control device that, in the case of technical problems, reroutes its operation from one machine to the other.
The new Goppion filter – developed recently, after the previous case had been designed – guarantees the purity of the air behind the glass thanks to filters that intercept and absorb pollutants (VOCs) that can get into and even form inside the display case.
Given the high number of visitors passing through the room and the potential for the painting to be accidently knocked into, the display case responds to these vibrations with a suspension system that prevents the glass and panel inside from moving.