Mona Lisa returns to her “home” in an improved high-tech display case by Goppion

11 Oct 2019

All eyes are on her once again, Mona Lisa, the priceless artwork by Leonardo that is back, resplendent, in its original location: the Salle des États at the Louvre.

After briefly being moved while the Salle des États was undergoing renovation this summer (fourteen years after its complete renovation concluded in 2005), the more than 15,000 visitors that come daily to admire Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile will again be able to see her in the restored room, protected behind a display case that has been technologically updated for the occasion.

Goppion, an Italian company and leader in the engineering and manufacturing of display cases and exhibition installations for museums, has been safeguarding Leonardo’s famous painting since 2005, when it exclusively designed the display case that had preserved it until this year. The glass case was originally created to last decades, but as the installation was designed for conservation purposes, engineers and curators have come together every year to share studies and data with the aim of protecting the painting as best possible. Although important maintenance operations have been continuously carried out over the years, some of these required the painting to be moved in the process.

The Italian company took up this new challenge launched by the Louvre to protect this icon of world heritage, designing a high-tech display case developed through constant research in the worlds of technology and preventive conservation.

The project was not a simple one when it came to such a large display case (the door alone measures 2.2m x 3.5m), which was modified with new high-tech engineering solutions that are able to guarantee both maximum protection to the artwork and maximum usability for all those who visit the Louvre every day to see the painting.

First and foremost, the protective glass was completely replaced. The new pane weighs 600 kg, which is incredible in and of itself, but Goppion was able to design a glass that is extremely “light” to the human eye. The company worked to guarantee excellent visibility for the artwork: the glass vaunts optimum transparency and is equipped with the latest generation of anti-reflective technology. Thanks to studies conducted by Goppion in the fields of research and development, the company was able to maintain the original thickness of the glass whilst also making it stronger, safer and more suitable for conservation purposes.

Our story is characterized by passion, research, experimentation, and innovation. We’re confident that we have designed something even more high-performing and avant-garde to protect this unique artwork. Goppion has always worked on the basis of our trademark complex process of hours and hours of planning, procedures and intense checks. We have done everything we can to ensure that this new display case is “the ideal home” for Mona Lisa, a secure space that can protect it whilst still keeping it visible to the millions who come to see it.

Alessandro Goppion

The changes made by the Milan-based company were not only focused on the glass but also other components that make up the entire installation. More specifically, the shelf at the base of the display case was also renovated, a wooden panel running the length of the glass case and 40 cm high. This is not any ordinary shelf, because it also serves as lighting, equipped with an integrated lighting system on the upper side, creating a strip of light that can exalt the beauty of Mona Lisa. During the room’s restoration, the back of the display was also modified.