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Louvre opens all-night for free for last weekend of Da Vinci exhibition

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AFP
Louvre opens all-night for free for last weekend of Da Vinci exhibition
Copyright  AFP

The Louvre Museum in Paris has announced it will be open day and night, on Saturday and Sunday, to mark the end of its Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition. 

The decision comes after many people failed to get their hands on tickets to see the retrospective on Italian Renaissance master.

Over 30,000 tickets have been put up for grabs online, free of charge to anyone who signed up for one. 

"For visitors, it will be a unique chance to see or see again all these works by this genius of the Renaissance and in a particular atmosphere at night," said Jean-Luc Martinez, the head of the Louvre, in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

The intention of the free all-nighter is to "say again to everyone that this museum is for everybody," added Martinez.

The exhibition, which opened in late October, marks 500 years since the death of Leonardo in the historic town of Amboise in the Loire Valley on May 2, 1519.

It groups 162 works including loans by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain from the Royal Collection, the British Museum, the Hermitage of Saint Petersburg and the Vatican.

Leonardo's most famous work, the Mona Lisa, is not included in the exhibit: although the masterpiece is also located in the Louvre, organisers decided it should remain in its usual dedicated space to avoid overcrowding.

The other notable no-show is the Salvator Mundi, the work that became the most expensive painting ever sold when it fetched 415 million euros at a Christie’s auction in 2017.

Mystery now surrounds the work - whose authenticity is still disputed by some experts - as it has not been seen in public ever since the record-shattering sale.

Rumours have on occasion swirled it might make an appearance at the exhibition but so far it hasn't.