Sell Mona Lisa, the signature painting at the Louvre? This idea has been suggested in France as a way to pay off the economic loss incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Why Mona Lisa? How much is it worth for? Can it really be sold?
The suggestion was made by French entrepreneur Stephane Distinguin. He argued that the painting, which is of high value and easy to move and hand over, should be sold at a high price to come up with funds to support the French culture and arts community that is on the brink of bankruptcy. “We already have many other paintings,” he added. In other words, he suggests selling a classic Italian painting to invent in the future of French arts and culture. The Louvre has five other major paintings and 22 drawings by Da Vinci and the number of its Da Vinci collections amount to around 500,000. The Louvre even built technology to appreciate Mona Lisa by VR. The most controversial part of his suggestion was the price of the painting, which was 50 billion euros, equivalent to 67 trillion Korean won. It is 133 times more expensive than Da Vinci’s painting titled Salvator Mundi, which was auctioned at 500 billion won in 2017 and 67 times more expensive than the insurance price (800 million dollars) the Louvre paid for its collections. Though it is rightful that Mona Lisa, Da Vinci’s masterpiece, should be sold at a higher price than Salvator Mundi, the price is unrealistic and more likely to be seen as a wishful thinking.
Of course, France would never sell the painting. Eight million people from around the world visit the Louvre to see Mona Lisa every year, how could they give up the economic value generated by the painting? The size of the visitors would be impacted by COVID-19, but there will still be many people who will visit post-COVID 19 to glimpse the painting, though they may be a little bit disappointed to peer over the glass wall mounted next to the painting amid large crowds.