How the French Hid the Louvre’s Masterpieces During WWII:


unveiling the mona lisa world war 2 louvre


Beginning in 1938, the threat of war prompted a large-scale evacuation of France’s public art collections. The storage sites chosen for works of art were châteaux, tranquil locations in the heart of the French countryside, far from strategic targets, and thus escaping the imminent danger of bombing.

On August 28, 1939, the Mona Lisa left the Louvre and on September 3, as war had been declared, a decision was taken to ensure that all of the most precious works would leave the premises by the end of the day.

During the war, Leonardo da Vinci’s smiling maiden would move another five times before being brought back safe and sound. It was an unprecedented journey for the world’s most famous painting.


Moving the Winged Victory of Samothrace

moving the Ascent of the Winged Victory of Samothrace world war II the louvre


On the Road

Stowed away in…

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