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Louvre throws open blockbuster Leonardo show for all-night viewing


Agence France-Presse

Paris  /  Mon, February 10, 2020  /  06:02 pm
Louvre throws open blockbuster Leonardo show for all-night viewing

People appreciate paintings in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, on May 25, 2016. (Shutterstock/File)

Short of something to do at around 4 am on a weekend in Paris late in February?

How about a (free) visit to the Paris Louvre museum's show-stopping exhibition of the Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, hailed by critics as the most significant display of his works in years?

The Louvre announced on Sunday that for its final days of opening on Friday February 21, Saturday 22 and Sunday 23, the exhibition would be open all night as well as for its regular daytime hours.

"For visitors it will be a unique chance to see or see again all these works by this genius of the Renaissance and in a particular atmosphere at night," the head of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, told the Journal du dimanche newspaper. 

Entry will be a free but a reservation made online from this Tuesday will be obligatory. Over 30,000 tickets will be up for grabs.

Read also: Louvre's record numbers fall as museum tries to limit visitors

The aim is to "say again to everyone that this museum is for everybody," added Martinez.

The exhibition, which opened in late October, marks 500 years since the death of Leonardo in the historic town of Amboise in the Loire Valley on May 2, 1519.

It groups 162 works including loans by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain from the Royal Collection, the British Museum, the Hermitage of Saint Petersburg and the Vatican.

It does not include Leonardo's most famous work the Mona Lisa which, although in the Louvre, organizers decided should remain in its usual exhibition space to avoid overcrowding.

The other notable no-show is the Salvator Mundi, the work that became the most expensive painting ever sold when it fetched $450 million at a Christie’s auction in 2017.

Mystery now surrounds the painting -- whose authenticity is disputed by some experts -- as it has not been seen in public ever since the record-shattering sale.

Rumors have on occasion swirled it might make an appearance at the exhibition but so far it hasn't.

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