Paris’ Louvre Museum reopened on Monday after nearly three months of being closed due to the pandemic. The museum, the most popular in the world, implemented new policies for visitors to maintain a social distancing experience without the usual hoard of crowding tourists. The Parisians are lucky because, for the first time in probably the museum’s existence, they can admire masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa in near solitude and appreciate the art in peace. The new practices are a luxury, and many people wonder (and wish) that this might change the way we see and appreciate art for the better.
Take the Mona Lisa. Arguably the most famous painting in the world, tourists venture to the Louvre in the masses to get a glimpse and take a quick selfie with the notably small portrait. According to the museum, 80% of visitors come solely to see the famous painting. There’s usually a notoriously large crowd around the Mona Lisa with many museum-goers barely managing a sight of the painting and not getting to examine the beauty and wonder of the masterpiece. Leonardo Da Vinci probably cannot stop rolling in his grave. Just last year, the museum issued a new system for viewing the painting, where they created a line, limiting the amount of time each visitor could view/take photos of the art. It helped manage the crowds and allowed everyone to at least see it, but with the limited time and sheer amount of people in the room, visitors remained rushed.
Now, there’s a limited number of visitors allowed in the museum, and people have to make reservations online. Tourists, in particular Americans, are, for the most part, gone, and visitors have to keep at least 3 meters of social distance. The Mona Lisa room limits itself to a number of visitors, too, and people are guaranteed to be able to see the portrait if they go to the Louvre. They stand 10 feet away from the portrait and wait outside for 15 minutes or less. The new measures are a lure for locals since they can go and spend time really appreciating the art.
Reports from other newly opened museums such as Florence’s Uffizi Galleries say that locals have taken advantage of tourist-heavy places to see the marvels that their own cities possess. Viewing art isn’t supposed to just check off a box to say that you’ve seen this sculptor or that painting. It’s supposed to be examined, and maybe, just maybe, the new measures will help tourists and locals alike appreciate the richness of art in less crowded rooms and confined spaces.