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A New Room For The Mona Lisa

PARIS, 31 March 1998 - Nippon Television (NTV) has offered to finance at a cost of 25 million French Francs ($4.3 millions) the creation of a new gallery in the Louvre to house the Mona Lisa. Louvre director Pierre Rosenberg and other French museum authorities consider that the current decor dating back to 1950 is "ugly" and in need of a face-lift. Open to international competition and scheduled for completion in 2000 or 2001, the 200 square-meter space will be divided in two: the Mona Lisa will occupy one space and Veronese's The Wedding Feast at Cana another. This is not the first time that foreigners have come to the aid of the Louvre, but the Japanese TV initiative represents the biggest gift to date. NTV was also a major underwriter of the restoration of the ceiling frescos of the Sistine Chapel from 1982 to 1985. It is hoped that the redesigned space will afford a better view for the six million tourists who contemplate the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece every year.


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