The Musée du Louvre in Paris has opened a new exhibition celebrating the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci, who died in Amboise, France, 500 years ago. As well as displaying paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculptures and more, the retrospective will play host to the museum’s first virtual reality experience, which brings the story of the Mona Lisa to life.

“On the occasion of the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition and for the very first time, the Musée du Louvre is delighted to present a virtual reality experience, in partnership with HTC Vive Arts,” said the museum’s Dominique de Font-Réaulx. “The public will be able to discover an immersive experience with an extraordinary masterpiece. This collaboration will allow visitors to meet and learn more about the Mona Lisa herself, beyond the myths and legends that have surrounded her for over 500 years.”

The famous painting itself was viewed by more than 10 million people in 2018, but visitors to the Louvre can only get so close as it’s protected in a special glass and steel case, and you can’t spend all day gazing at that enigmatic smile. Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass has been developed in partnership with HTC Vive Arts and Emissive VR, and gives exhibition visitors the chance to view da Vinci’s most famous masterpiece in a completely new way.

For one thing, donning a HTC Vive headset will take away the crowds that normally surround the painting. The VR experience also reveals details in the work that are hidden to the naked eye, allows viewers to discover the techniques employed by the artist, and get to know more about the person who posed for the painting, Lisa del Giocondo, and even see her moving around.

You can get the Mona Lisa VR experience at home on Vive headsets, provided you subscribe to HTC’s VR subscription service, Viveport Infinity. If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris between October 24th, 2019, and February 24th, 2020, you can have both the VR experience and see Leonardo’s works in person for €17 (about $20). Just keep in mind that you’ll need to book a slot ahead of time.

View the app in Viveport here!

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