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The Louvre

art museum

Paris, France, Europe

1483

December 3

on Monday

Leonardo da Vinci agrees to deliver the Virgin of the Rocks to the confraternity in time for the Feast of the Conception of that year.

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The moon was waxing crescent that night.

1500

16 years, 1 month, 3 days later

Leonardo da Vinci and Luca Pacioli go to Mantua, then Leonardo continues on to Florence. In Mantua, he draws the Portrait of Isabella d'Este. In Florence, he paints the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne.

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1503

3 years later

Leonardo da Vinci begins painting the Mona Lisa and works on it on and off for the next thirteen years. Walter Pater gives an immortal description in a passage from The Renaissance.

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1505

2 years, 1 day later

Painting the Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci had musicians play music to entertain Lisa when painting her portrait.

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1516

11 years, 2 days later

Leonardo da Vinci finishes working on the Mona Lisa.

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1517

1 year, 1 day later

King Francoise I buys the Mona Lisa for 4,000 écus and keeps it at Palace of Fontainebleau.

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King Francoise I (1494-1547), aged 23: king

1517

Leonardo da Vinci takes the Mona Lisa with him on his journey to his final residence at a chateaux in Amboise.

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1519

2 years later

Leonardo da Vinci wills the Mona Lisa to his lifelong assistant, Giocomo Salai.

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1546

27 years, 7 days later

Michelangelo's gift to Roberto Strozzi

Michelangelo gives the statues of the Rebellious Slave and the Dying Slave in the Louvre to Roberto Strozzi, for his generous hospitality in his Roman house during Michelangelo's periods of sickness in July 1544 and June 1546.

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1600s

54 years, 13 days later

King Louis XIV moves the Mona Lisa to the Palace of Versailles.

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1790s

Late

190 years, 6 months, 18 days later

Mona Lisa is moved to the Louvre after the French Revolution, but spends a brief period in the bedroom of Napoleon in the Tuileries Palace.

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1807

16 years, 7 months, 7 days later

Sold to the Bonapartes

Borghese Hermaphroditus is purchased with many other pieces from the Borghese Collection, from principe Camillo Borghese, who had married Pauline Bonaparte, and is transferred to The Louvre.

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1809

2 years, 1 day later

The Mona Lisa is restored by Jean-Marie Hooghstoel, who is responsible for restoration of paintings for the galleries of the Musée Napoléon. A wash and revarnishing is undertaken, which involves cleaning with spirits, a touch-up of colour, and a revarnish.

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1850s

41 years, 10 days later

Two butterfly-shaped walnut braces are inserted into the back of the panel of the Mona Lisa to a depth of about 1/3 the thickness of the panel. This intervention is was skillfully executed, and successfully stabilized the crack that had been forming in it.

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1870

20 years, 5 days later

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) the Mona Lisa is moved from the Louvre to the Brest Arsenal.

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1888

18 years, 4 days later

The upper brace of the Mona Lisa panel falls out. A later restorer glues and lines the resulting socket and crack with cloth.

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1906

18 years, 4 days later

Louvre restorer Eugène Denizard performs watercolour retouches on areas of the paint layer of the Mona Lisa disturbed by the crack in the panel. He also retouches the edges of the picture with varnish, to mask areas that were covered initially by an older frame.

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1909

3 years, 1 day later

The Comtesse de Béhague gives the Mona Lisa its current frame, a Renaissance-era work consistent with the portrait's historical period.

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1911

August 21

on Monday

2 years, 7 months, 22 days later

Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre by Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia and is missing for two years.

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The moon was waning crescent that night.

1913

1 year, 4 months, 14 days later

Vincenzo Peruggia attempts to sell the Mona Lisa to the directors of the Uffizi, and is caught. The painting is exhibited around Italy for two years before being returned to the Louvre.

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1913

After the return of the Mona Lisa after its theft, Eugène Denizard is again called upon to work on the painting. Denizard cleans the picture without solvent, and lightly touches up several scratches to the painting with watercolour.

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1915

2 years later

Uffizi returns the Mona Lisa to the Louvre.

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1939

24 years, 6 days later

During World War II, the Mona Lisa is again removed from the Louvre and taken for safety first to Château d'Amboise, then to the Loc-Dieu Abbey and Château de Chambord, then finally to the Musée Ingres in Montauban.

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1951

12 years, 3 days later

A flexible oak frame with beech crosspieces is added to the Mona Lisa. This flexible frame, which is used in addition to the decorative frame, exerts pressure on the panel to keep it from warping further.

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1956

5 years, 1 day later

Part of the Mona Lisa is damaged when a vandal throws acid at it.

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1956

December 30

on Sunday

12 months, 4 days later

The Mona Lisa is damaged again when a rock was thrown at it, resulting in the loss of a speck of pigment near the left elbow. Restorer Jean-Gabriel Goulinat touches up the damage with watercolour.

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The moon was a new moon that night.

1970

13 years, 5 days later

Cross braces are added to the Mona Lisa to help to keep the panel from warping further. The beech crosspieces are switched to maple after it is found that the beechwood has been infested with insects.

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1977

7 years, 2 days later

A new insect infestation is discovered in the back of the panel of the Mona Lisa as a result of crosspieces installed to keep the painting from warping. This is treated on the spot with carbon tetrachloride, and later with an ethylene oxide treatment.

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1985

8 years, 2 days later

The spot on the back panel of the Mona Lisa damaged by insect infestation is again treated with carbon tetrachloride as a preventive measure.

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2004

19 years, 4 days later

A conservation and study team replaces the maple crosspieces of the Mona Lisa with sycamore ones, and an additional metal crosspiece is added for scientific measurement of the panel's warp.

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2005

April 6

on Wednesday

1 year, 3 months, 6 days later

The Mona Lisa is moved to a new location within the Louvre's Salle des États. It is displayed in a purpose-built, climate-controlled enclosure behind bulletproof glass. The humidity is maintained at 50% ±10%, and the temperature is maintained between 18 and 21 °C. To compensate for fluctuations in relative humidity, the case is supplemented with a bed of silica gel treated to provide 55% relative humidity. The painting is now illuminated by an LED lamp.

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The moon was waning crescent that night.

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2013

7 years, 9 months, 2 days later

A new 20 watt LED lamp is installed, specially designed for the Mona Lisa. The lamp has a Colour Rendering Index up to 98, and minimizes infrared and ultraviolet radiation which could otherwise degrade the painting.

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