Visiting the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris can be a dreary, crowded experience. The museum, however, will soon offer an alternative way to experience the portrait through VR with the support of HTC VIVE Arts.
The VR experience, titled Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass, will last around 7 minutes and be offered as part of a larger upcoming exhibition at the Louvre focusing entirely on Leonardo da Vinci. The exhibition, along with the VR experience, coincides with the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death and will run from October 24 to Feb 24, 2020. It also requires a reservation ahead of time.
The experience offers a way for more people to experience the work despite ever-present crowds when visiting the portrait in person. If you’ve ever been to the Louvre, you’ll understand that due to the sheer number of people and small size of the portrait, it can often feel underwhelming and, to some, not worth the effort to see the Mona Lisa in person.
“Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass reveals details invisible to the naked eye, as well as providing insight into the techniques da Vinci used, and the identity of his sitter,” according to HTC VIVE Arts. Beyond the Glass will start in the same, cramped portrait room that hosts the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, but the crowds will soon fade away leaving you alone with the portrait. You’ll also experience the portrait in a variety of different settings, including witnessing a version of the subject herself sitting down for the portrait.
There will be 15 headset stations present at the exhibition in the Louvre, but the experience should also be available for VR users at home through VIVEPORT and “other platforms“, which have yet to be detailed. The home version of the experience is longer and features a different opening.
Ticket to the experience are €17 and available for reservation on the Louvre’s site.