Secrets of the Mona Lisa revealed at immersive exhibition in Marseille

Discover the masterpiece of the Mona Lisa at the Palais de la Bourse through an immersive exhibition
Discover the masterpiece of the Mona Lisa at the Palais de la Bourse through an immersive exhibition   -  Copyright  Nicolas Tucat/AFP
By Theo Farrant  & AFP

She's the most famous subject for a painting in the world.

And now, in Marseille, an immersive entirely digital exhibition gives enthusiasts the chance to really gaze into that extraordinary picture. To look into the world of the Mona Lisa and unravel her mysteries.

In the 600m2 hall of the Palais de la Bourse, best known for housing the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a journey through six stages allows you to explore different aspects of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece.

The exhibition is "an opportunity to approach the painting, to discover all the details", says Vincent Delieuvin, chief curator of 16th-century Italian painting at the Louvre museum.

Why is the Mona Lisa so famous?

Nicolas Tucat/AFP
A visitor watches a giant screen showing the smile of Leonardo Da Vinci's portrait of Mona LisaNicolas Tucat/AFP

The Mona Lisa was painted sometime between 1503 and 1519, when Leonardo was living in Florence, and can now be found in Paris' Louvre museum.

The subject of the portrait's mysterious smile and her unproven identity have made the painting a source of ongoing investigation and fascination.

The interactive exhibition aims to explore the history and legacy of the masterpiece and help us understand why it became so famous.

From the origins of the Mona Lisa myth to her posterity, including the theft of the painting in 1911 - which greatly contributed to its future notoriety - each stage of the work's journey is the subject of a film projected in large, digital format.

The visual narration is accompanied by smaller interactive screens, intended to extend the exploration of the theme addressed: they "allow the public to really be an actor in their visit, to learn, to play, to discover".

"For Leonardo da Vinci's contemporaries, it was the first painting where physical and psychological life was represented," explains Delieuvin.

A life to which the digital medium, developed by the Marseille-based company Artisans d'idées, breathes new life.

The exhibition runs from 10 March until 21 August 2022.

Check out the video above for a look inside the new exhibition

Video editor • Theo Farrant