By Andrea Romano
October 22, 2019
Credit: © Courtesy Emissive and HTC Vive Arts

A highly anticipated exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s works is opening at the Louvre Museum on Thursday with a few key pieces missing.

According to The Local France, the groundbreaking exhibition titled simply Leonardo da Vinci will showcase 162 works, including 24 drawings loaned by the Royal Collection in Britain, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. There are also contributions on loan from the British Museum, the Vatican, and the Hermitage of Saint Petersburg.

Nearly 200,000 visitors (and counting) have already reserved tickets in order to see this impressive collection. Guests will only be able to admire the Renaissance artist and jack-of-all-trades’ works within a 30-minute time frame, a reservation system that has been set up by the museum to help with overcrowding, according to Lonely Planet.

But there are two very important da Vinci works that won’t be part of the collection at all, and one that will be available to view for only a limited time.

The Mona Lisa, one of da Vinci’s most famous works, is already housed in the Louvre, in the Salle des Etats. Since the intriguing painting already brings in over 30,000 guests to view it per day, the museum though it would be wise to keep her in her usual spot in order to avoid crowding problems, The Local reported.

Salvator Mundi, a portrait painting depicting Jesus Christ, will also be absent. The painting was famously sold at a Christie's auction in 2017 for €400 million (over $445 million USD) and hasn’t been available to the public ever since.

But perhaps the piece that is surrounded by the most drama is the exhibition’s inclusion of the famous drawing, the Vitruvian Man. According to Lonely Planet, French and Italian courts have been battling over the piece, with Italian officials arguing that the piece was too fragile to travel. It’s currently insured for €1 billion (over $1.1 billion USD), according to The Local.

A trade-off was agreed upon in order to get the iconic drawing to the Louvre for the exhibition. In return for loaning the drawing, the French museum will be loaning two Raphael paintings to Italy, just in time for the 500th anniversary for the artist’s death next year, according to Lonely Planet.

Unfortunately, the Vitruvian Man will only be available in the exhibition for four weeks, starting later in October, rather than for the whole run. It’s best to check your ticket date if you have your heart set on seeing it.

The exhibition will run from Oct. 24 to Feb. 24, 2020. More information and tickets can be found on the Louvre Museum website.