Monna Lisa Threatened by Sprinkler in 1963


According the Art Newspaper In 1963, the most famous painting in the world, the Leonardo da Vinci’s Monna Lisa, narrowly missed a catastrophe  when it was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, after having  left the Louvre in Paris for its first trip to the US.

All possible precautions were taken for the painting’s safekeeping. It was transported across the Atlantic aboard the SS France in a waterproof crate designed to float if the luxury liner sank.
On 7 February, the portrait went on show at the Metropolitan Museum in New York to be seen by more than one million visitors in just a few weeks.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Monna Lisa Portrait

In 1963, the Mona Lisa, the renowned painting by Leonardo da Vinci, narrowly avoided a potential disaster while on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The painting had been transported from the Louvre in Paris to the US with extensive precautions, including a waterproof crate designed to float in case of a shipwreck.

Upon arrival in New York, the Mona Lisa was showcased at the National Gallery of Art, attended by President Kennedy and his wife. Subsequently, it was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, guarded by armed US Marines. During its time at the Metropolitan, the painting faced a perilous situation when a sprinkler malfunctioned, splashing water on it for several hours.

The incident occurred when the curator at the time, discovered the mishap in the morning. The sprinkler malfunction had gone unnoticed by guards monitoring the painting through a black-and-white monitor outside the storeroom.

The thick glass covering the Mona Lisa acted as an effective raincoat, preventing significant damage. The Louvre official assured the curator that the painting was unharmed, though the incident was not disclosed to the public, even if the potential seriousness of the damage, if the painting had not been protected by glass ,was emphasized by experts.

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