Online bidder pays $98K to get up close and personal with the ‘Mona Lisa’

An online bidder has paid 80,000 euros ($98,000) to get up close and personal with the “Mona Lisa,” after the Louvre museum in Paris sold off a number of once-in-a-lifetime experiences via auction.

The unidentified winner will attend the annual examination of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece,when one of the world’s most famous paintings is taken out of its case for inspection, according to a press release published by Christie’s auction house prior to the sale.

Other experiences, which were listed by both Christie’s and Hotel Drouot, included a private tour of the museum with Jean-Luc Martinez, president and director of the Louvre, and a torchlight night tour of the museum, both of which sold for sold for 38,000 euros ($46,000). A private concert in the Caryatids Hall went under the hammer for 42,000 euros ($51,000).

Brands such as Cartier and Dior also teamed up with the museum to offer curated experiences as part of the auction.

Jewelery brand Cartier donated one of its Panthère de Cartier bracelets, which went for 90,000 euros ($110,000) and will be presented to the winning bidder during a private visit to the gallery. The winner will be taken to see the French crown jewels as well as visiting Cartier’s secret jewelry workshops in Paris.

Works of art donated by artists such as Johan Creten, Candida Hofer and Eva Jospin were also auctioned off.

In a press release, organizers said the Louvre will use auction proceeds to make the museum “accessible to all.” Plans include the Louvre Museum Studio, a new space that will focus on artistic and cultural education.

“This period of pandemic, which is hitting the most vulnerable in society first, makes this project even more necessary,” Martinez was quoted as saying.

Winning bidders will have two years to use their experiences.

The Louvre is the world’s largest and most popular art museum, attracting around 10 million visitors per year. But like many facilities, it has had to close its doors to the public for several months this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This article has been updated to reflect the final sale prices.

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