Paris gears up for THE cultural event of the autumn
From 24 October 2019 to 24 February 2020, the largest art museum in the world is hosting a retrospective of Leonardo da Vinci's entire artistic output. A major event bringing together, for the first time, over 120 works scattered throughout the world.
Make the most of the gentle Indian summer in Paris to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of the Tuscan master, famous for his countless talents as painter, engineer, scientist and scenographer, to name a few. Epitome of the Renaissance Man, the great Leonardo da Vinci alone embodies this period of artistic and scientific revival which originated in Florence in the 15th century before spreading across Europe.
As the major artistic event of the year in Paris, the exhibition at the Louvre is bound to be a crowd-puller. Before setting off for the museum's famous square courtyard, make sure you book the day and timeslot for your visit on line. All visitors, including those with free and unlimited access to the museum, must register (link at the bottom of the page) to experience the exhibition with peace of mind. Audio guides can also be booked in several languages. On Friday, the museum stays open until 9:45 p.m., so you can admire the talent of the master when most people are no longer around.
Over 120 of the master's works on display
The Louvre has pulled out all the stops to honour the most prolific artist of his time. Its teams have worked tirelessly for ten years, carrying out further scientific examination of paintings held by the museum, restoring three of them and reviewing all archive documents to produce a more accurate biography of the genius.
The result of this painstaking preparation will exceed all your expectations. Under your admiring gaze, paintings and drawings from the Louvre's exceptional collection and unique pieces from Italy are brought together for the very first time. Of the 15 authenticated paintings, only The Adoration of the Magi was too fragile to make the journey to Paris.
Usually, the Louvre is custodian of a third of the Tuscan's body of work, that means five major paintings and more than 22 drawings. It is hardly surprising though, as Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life in the Tours region at the invitation of King Francis I. Are you ready? Then, let the show begin…
An interactive experience with Leonardo da Vinci
In the perfectly orchestrated half-light, you will study the five major works held by the museum one by one: The Virgin of the Rocks, La Belle Ferronnière, the Mona Lisa, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist. Admire how easily and faithfully all these characters are represented. Approach the Mona Lisa and take note how incredibly lifelike her skin is. By applying several layers of paint one on top of the other, the artist depicted his model to perfection and invented a technique called sfumato (or shading) which marked a turning point in the history of painting.
If crowds usually throng around this iconic canvas, often preventing you from taking in all its subtilities, this time you will have the opportunity to see it like never before. A virtual reality experience called Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass immerses you in the very heart of the masterpiece. Donning a VR headset, you enter a virtual space behind the painting's protective glass. Now you are up close and personal with the canvas, you can take in all the details and better understand the Mona Lisa in all her sophistication.
In the steps of a master of all trades
The luminous style of these priceless works is matched by the precision of the drawings and sketches on display. Admire the universal talent of the man who mastered a myriad of disciplines. Through his Codex Atlanticus, a collection of drawings and writings compiled on over a thousand large sheets, the artist and scientist documents his various studies into hydraulic machines, a removeable military bridge and even his famous tank. The Tuscan had his fingers in lots of pies! One illustration proves that he was working on a monumental equestrian sculpture. Other drawings reflect his study of the human anatomy, while there are notes organising celebrations for the King of France.
Interconnecting all these disciplines may have been the secret behind the great man's creativity. By studying certain manuscripts, you will soon discover that Leonardo recorded his notes and projects by writing backwards, so you will need to use a mirror to read them!
As you leave this fascinating retrospective, one message is obvious: despite his deep interest for science and technology, the great artist placed painting above everything else.
Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition
From 24 October 2019 to 24 February 2020
Rue de Rivoli
+33 (0)1 40 20 50 50