- Mona Lisa Goes Online in Louvre Web Site Revamp
By Rebecca Harrison
PARIS (March 22) - Paris's Louvre is revamping its Web site so art lovers
can view its entire collection, including thousands of drawings unseen by
museum visitors, without ever setting foot in France.
The Louvre Web site already displays some of the museum's exhibits and gets
six million visits a year, as many as flock to the French capital to see
Leonardo da Vinci's ''Mona Lisa'' and other famous works up close. All
35,000 of its exhibits will be on show at the revamped site announced on
Friday. Directors hope the upgrade will give more people across the globe
access to the world's biggest museum.
Online visitors will also be able to see a further 130,000 drawings,
which are too fragile for public display and can only be seen by
From next year visitors to the site, almost half of whom are currently
North Americans, will be able to see the huge collection in a virtual,
three-dimensional tour of the museum's galleries.
''This way the entire Louvre collection will be accessible to everyone,''
Internet Director Catherine Jaques told Reuters after a presentation of the
site, adding the plan was to make the Louvre ''the world's biggest virtual
The 165,000 works will be online by 2003, before the museum launches the
second phase of the revamp, aimed at enabling websurfers to create their own
personalized Louvre Internet service, Jaques said.
''It will be a case of 'My Louvre' -- so if somebody is a big Mona Lisa
fan they will receive information about the Mona Lisa,'' she said. And those
who make it to France's most visited cultural site will eventually be able
to immortalize their visit by downloading information from portable
audioguides onto handheld computers or third generation mobile telephones.
Museum chiefs hope the new site will push hits up to between 10 and 15
million per year by 2010.