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Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass
Digital
Work

5 min

Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass

The first virtual reality experience at the Louvre, Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass (2019) is an innovative addition to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, the Museum’s flagship event. Supported by Emissive, this creation lets viewers get up close and personal with the Mona Lisa to explore its myth. 

Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass © Courtesy Emissive and HTC Vive Arts
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Virtual Reality at the Louvre

As part of the Louvre Museum’s Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, inaugurated in 2019, the legendary institution has teamed up with Emissive, a virtual reality company founded in 2005, and HTC Vive Arts, a programme for supporting the arts, to produce Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass. Combining their strengths, from artistic knowledge to technological innovation, this three-organisation partnership deciphers the painter’s famous canvas in an unprecedented way. Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass has thus become the first virtual reality experience at the Louvre Museum.

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A one-on-one with the Mona Lisa

Admired by over 20,000 people every day, the Mona Lisa is a legendary work in the Louvre Museum, only visible in the Salle des États, which is often packed to bursting. Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass offers an unprecedented alternative to fully admire the work through a six- to eight-minute virtual reality experience. Wearing a headset, the audience can admire the Mona Lisa in an empty virtual space without its bulletproof glass. These conditions allow us to discover details invisible to the naked eye.

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Modelling the Mona Lisa

Bringing the Mona Lisa to life in 3D was the biggest challenge for the creators of Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass. Based on the latest scientific research, which revealed the techniques used by Leonardo da Vinci in his creation process, the designers were able to recreate the work’s light effects. In order to open up the setting and heighten the immersion, Emissive rebuilt the loggia in which the model was painted, all while prioritising an understated production.

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The democratisation of culture

Supported by the Louvre, one of the largest museums on the world, Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass revolutionises the approach to art through the prism of technology in a hyper-connected world. This virtual reality work is aimed at experts and connoisseurs as well as the general public. While the innovative Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass seeks to strengthen the ties between society and art, it also allows for better access to culture and knowledge. Available for free on all VR platforms as well as iOS and Android, anyone with a virtual reality headset can download this experience and enjoy it in full.

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The Institut français and the work

Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass (2019) is presented on culturevr.fr, an Institut français platform which offers a panoramic view of cultural innovation in virtual reality.