Mona Lisa may now have a new reason to smile. Leonardo DaVinci's masterpiece of the mysterious woman with the enigmatic smile has been moved, to protect it from the ravages of age.
DaVinci brought his famous painting to France in 1517. It has been housed in the Louvre since 1804. Last year, curators announced that the wood Mona Lisa is painted on was beginning to show signs of warping, and would need scientific analysis.
Now, the Mona Lisa has been moved to the Salle des Etats, which has been refurbished at a cost of $6 million. The design is by a Peruvian architect Lorenzo Piqueras. A Louvre spokeswoman said lighting and climate control have been greatly improved by the four-year makeover.
The move also gives the masterpiece a much bigger venue than its previous home in the Salle Rosa. Six million people visit the Louvre each year. Crowds often packed in to get a view of the painting, which is only 53 by 76 centimeters. The painting now has one wall to itself in the bigger room, and is on display with other 16th Century Italian paintings.
The Mona Lisa is believed to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of an obscure Florentine merchant. Da Vinci painted it between 1503 and 1506.