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Powder the nose of sleeping beauty: the virus facilitates the work of the Louvre | Entertainment

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By THOMAS ADAMSON and ALEX TURNBULL

PARIS (AP) Mona Lisa, 518, has seen a lot in her life on a wall, but rarely this one: almost four months without visitors to the Louvre.

As she gazes through bulletproof glass into the Silent States Hall, in what was once the most visited museum in the world, her famous smile could almost denote relief. A little further on, the white marble Venus de Milo is for once freed from its belt of visitors taking photos.

It is not certain whether the Paris museum will reopen, after being closed on October 30 in accordance with the French government’s virus containment measures. But those lucky enough to get a rare private look at collections spanning 9,000 years of human history – with plenty of room to breathe.

This is usually sorely lacking in a museum that’s marred by its own success: Before the pandemic, staff walked out complaining that they couldn’t handle the overcrowding, with as many as 30,000 to 40,000 visitors per day.

The forced closure also gave museum officials a golden opportunity to make long overdue renovations that simply weren’t possible with nearly 10 million visitors a year.

Unlike the first lockdown, which put an end to all activities at the Louvre, the second allowed some 250 museum employees to remain fully operational.

An army of curators, restorers and workers clean the sculptures, reorganize the artifacts, check the inventories, rearrange the entrances and carry out restorations, notably in the Egyptian wing and the Grand Gallery, the largest room in the current museum. renovation.

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