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Blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci show open all night and for free at the Louvre

People take pictures with mobile phone at an oil painting by Atelier Leonardo da Vinci's " Salvator Mundi" (Version Ganay), during the opening of the exhibition " Leonardo da Vinci ", on October 22, 2019, at the Louvre museum in Paris.
People take pictures with mobile phone at an oil painting by Atelier Leonardo da Vinci's " Salvator Mundi" (Version Ganay), during the opening of the exhibition " Leonardo da Vinci ", on October 22, 2019, at the Louvre museum in Paris. © Francois Guillot, AFP

Short of something to do at around 4am on a Paris weekend in late February? Now you can visit the Louvre museum’s exhibition of Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, hailed by critics as the most significant display of his works in years, for free.

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The Louvre announced on Sunday that for its final days of opening – from Friday February 21 through Sunday February 23 – the exhibition would be open all night as well as during its regular daytime hours.

“For visitors it will be a unique chance to see, or see again, all these works by this genius of the Renaissance and in a particular atmosphere at night,” the head of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, told the Journal du dimanche newspaper.

Entry will be free but a reservation made online from this Tuesday will be obligatory. More than 30,000 tickets will be up for grabs.

The aim is to “say again to everyone that this museum is for everybody”, Martinez added.

The exhibition, which opened in late October, marks 500 years since the death of Leonardo in the town of Amboise in the Loire Valley on May 2, 1519.

It groups 162 works including loans by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain from the Royal Collection, the British Museum, the Hermitage of Saint Petersburg and the Vatican.

It does not include Leonardo’s most famous work the Mona Lisa, which – although housed in the Louvre – organisers decided should remain in its usual exhibition space to avoid overcrowding.

>> Encore! Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre: Historic exhibition marks 500 years since artist's death

The other notable no-show is the Salvator Mundi, the work that became the most expensive painting ever sold when it fetched $450 million at a Christie’s auction in 2017. Rumours were circulating that it might make an appearance at the exhibition.

Mystery now surrounds the painting – whose authenticity is disputed by some experts –as it has not been seen in public since the record-shattering sale.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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