The ongoing pandemic had shaken up the art industry since almost a year ago. Museums and art galleries worldwide were forced to shorten their opening hours and even close their doors, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.
The world's largest museum, the Musée du Louvre has been no exception. The usually jam-packed museum in Paris that houses such high-profile works as Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and the Vénus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch reported a significant drop of visitor numbers to around 2.7 million last year, as well as an over €90m (US$110m) loss in revenue.
Visitors were all masked up during the reopening of the museum
With travel restrictions and lockdowns in place, the Louvre had to shut its door from March last year until July and closed for the second time at the end of October, opening for only 161 days instead of the usual 311 pre-pandemic. Rooms that usually filled with 75% foreign visitors last year saw 70% of their visitors from France instead.
Before the museum closed its door for the first time in March last year, it was actually in the middle of the blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, marking the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance master’s death. The exhibition attracted some 1.1 million visitors in its four-month run, doubling the previous attendance records of 540,000 for the major retrospective of the 19th-century French artist Eugène Delacroix in 2018. The headline-making exhibition brought the average daily attendance figures to almost 10,000, an all-time high for the museum.
The Leonardo da Vinci exhibition that attracted more than 1.1 million visitors in four months
Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre - which still remains closed for the time being - is hopeful that the visitor attendance will recover in 2023. “The Louvre’s long history has taught us that hope for brighter days is never in vain. We must hold on to that hope and optimism to get through this period and remind ourselves of the meaning of our mission,” he said.