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Bereft of visitors, the Louvre keeps busy with major refit and restorations

February 19, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 62.4%. 1 min read.

The Louvre may appear empty amid lockdown restrictions but, inside, a team of artisans is using the closures to carry out long-planned renovations.

As the world's most visited museum awakens, escalators that once carried up to 40,000 pairs of feet a day loop quietly through the empty lobby.

Lockdown restrictions shuttered the Louvre in late October, leaving world-famous artworks like "Venus de Milo," "Liberty Leading the People" and the "Mona Lisa" without their usual crowds of admirers.

But they're not completely alone -- the museum is making the most of the closures by carrying out long-planned renovations.

"(The Louvre) is still living, even though it seems really asleep from the outside," says project manager Gautier Moysset, standing in front of a set of 19th-century doors that once opened onto the bedchamber of French kings.

Also among them is curator Côme Fabre, who is overseeing the re-mounting of "Nude Youth Sitting by the Sea," by French artist Hippolyte Flandrin.

The curator says the quiet period has helped him reconsider how the Louvre displays its vast collection.

"You have to listen to what the works have to say.

Curator Julien Cuny is also using the opportunity to reflect on the Persian collections he oversees.

What is the work doing here?

How is it speaking to the other works?" he says, guiding a forklift carrying a 400-kilogram (882-pound) stele through a passageway lined with Roman marble sculptures.

While thankful for the time he has been given, Cuny knows the Louvre has taken a huge hit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It's sad because from a logistical point of view, we can do a lot," Cuny says.

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