In the heady months between March and July, many Paris locals and people all over the world waited with great anticipation for the Louvre museum to reopen. When it finally did, many of the new rules and regulations centered around how patrons would be able to visit Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which is arguably one of the most famous paintings in the world. Now, in order to raise funds for the museum to open a new facility, the Louvre and Christie’s are holding an ongoing auction from December 1 to 15 wherein bidders can compete for a more intimate audience with the most famous painting in the world.
What does this mean, exactly? Once a year, the painting is meticulously examined outside of her display case within the Louvre, and the person who wins this auction lot will have the privilege of being present for this auspicious occasion. This is particularly noteworthy because the lucky person who gets to have this audience with the Mona Lisa may be able to see details and minor brush stroke features on the portrait that the casual museum-goer almost certainly wouldn’t be able to detect. After one day of bidding, this experience is currently going for €9,000 ($10,900 USD).
“Everyone has been able to understand the difficulties that the pandemic has created for cultural institutions, and the Louvre is no exception,” Cécile Verdier, the President of Christie’s France, said in a statement. “For many of us, the Louvre is a fabulous showcase for great artistic emotions. Thanks to the funds raised by this sale, promoting the Louvre‘s activities for audiences unfamiliar with museums is all the more meaningful in these troubled times.”
Additionally, participants in the auction also have the chance to buy experiences like traversing the rooftops of Paris with the artist JR, or else take home a work of art by contemporary artists such as Johan Creten, Candida Höfer or Eva Jospin. In any case, the money is going towards the future Louvre Museum Studio, which is set to open in the fall of 2021 and which will cater to families, students, the vulnerable and the disabled.