Amel Pain  /  AP file
A man takes a photograph of the "Mona Lisa," which is displayed behind protective glass, before it was moved.
updated 4/4/2005 7:25:25 PM ET 2005-04-04T23:25:25

The world’s most enigmatic smile is getting a change of scene, as the Louvre shifted Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” to a larger, renovated section of the museum.

The 500-year-old painting’s new home is the Salle des Etats, which has undergone a four-year, $6.1 million makeover designed by Peruvian architect Lorenzo Piqueras.

“It’s completely new, completely different,” Louvre spokeswoman Veronique Petitjean said Monday.

The Salle de Etats offers more space for the 6 million people who visit the museum each year to view “Mona Lisa,” which previously was in the much smaller Salle Rosa.

Showing her age
Because of the move, the painting was not on display for the public Monday and Tuesday, although the museum remained open. The painting can be seen again beginning Wednesday. It will still be protected by unbreakable, non-reflective glass.

About 50 other 16th-century Italian paintings, including the Louvre’s largest painting — “The Wedding Feast at Cana” by Veronesi — will also be displayed in the Salle des Etats. The famous portrait, believed to be of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of an obscure Florentine merchant, was painted between 1503 and 1506 on a thin panel of wood.

Da Vinci brought “Mona Lisa” to France in 1517. It has been in the Louvre since 1804. Curators announced last year that the painting was beginning to show signs of warping, and would undergo scientific analysis. It is typically removed from its case once a year, so conservation experts can monitor its deterioration.

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